Myrmica obscura

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Myrmica obscura
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Myrmica
Species: M. obscura
Binomial name
Myrmica obscura
Finzi, 1926

Myrmica schencki var. obscura 28794 28794 hal.jpg

Myrmica schencki var. obscura 28794 28794 had.jpg

Syntype Specimen Label

The ecology of M. obscura is very similar to that of Myrmica schencki (see notes on ecology of that species). It is quite common on hot well-grazed alpine meadows where it builds nests in the soil and constructs the woven funnel entrance that we have observed is typical for many schencki-group species in the Old World and “schencki-group-like” species in the North America. Nests average about 400 workers with usually a single queen but two or more queens are not uncommon. Our impression is that M. obscura might be able to tolerate slightly hotter and drier conditions than M. schencki but at this time there is no firm data to support this hypothesis. (Radchenko and Elmes 2010)


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - A member of the schencki group; it was originally described as a variety of [[Myrmica schencki and is closely related to that species. Morphometric analysis showed that the Apennine populations that we equated to M. obscura, had much wider frons (mean FI = 0.266) compared with M. schencki populations sampled from over its geographical range (mean FI = 0.234), furthermore the M. obscura males had shorter scapes (mean SI2 = 0.451 vs. 0.419) that were significantly less angled (more obtuse) at their base (mean 133'° vs. 121'°).

Keys including this Species


Italy South of Alpes.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Italy (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb




The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • obscura. Myrmica schencki var. obscura Finzi, 1926: 111 (w.q.m.) ITALY. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Seifert, 1988b: 38; of schencki: Bernard, 1967: 118; Radchenko, 1994f: 77. Revived from synonymy and raised to species: Elmes, Radchenko, et al. 2008: 99. See also: Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 206.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - named from Latin obscure = dark or shaded, originally to indicate that the types were a dark form of M. schdncki.


  • Bernard, F. 1967a [1968]. Faune de l'Europe et du Bassin Méditerranéen. 3. Les fourmis (Hymenoptera Formicidae) d'Europe occidentale et septentrionale. Paris: Masson, 411 pp. (page 118, Junior synonym of schencki)
  • Elmes, G. W., Radchenko, A.G., Balleto, E., Barbero, F. 2008. Myrmica obscura Finzi - a good ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) endemic to Italy. Fragmenta Faunistica (Warsaw) Volume: 51 Issue: 2 Page(s): 91-100.
  • Finzi, B. 1926. Le forme europee del genere Myrmica Latr. Primo contributo. Boll. Soc. Adriat. Sci. Nat. Trieste 29: 71-119 (page 111, worker, queen, male described)
  • Radchenko, A. G. 1994f. Survey of the species of the scabrinodis group of the genus Myrmica (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from central and eastern Palearctic. Zool. Zh. 73(9 9: 75-82 (page 77, Junior synonym of schencki)
  • Radchenko, A.G. & Elmes, G.W. 2010. Myrmica ants of the Old World. Fauna Mundi 3: 1-789.
  • Seifert, B. 1988b. A taxonomic revision of the Myrmica species of Europe, Asia Minor, and Caucasia (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Abh. Ber. Naturkundemus. Görlitz 62(3): 1-75 (page 38, Junior synonym of lobicornis)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Borowiec L. 2014. Catalogue of ants of Europe, the Mediterranean Basin and adjacent regions (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Genus (Wroclaw) 25(1-2): 1-340.
  • Elmes G. W., A. G. Radchenko, E. Balleto, and F. Barbero. 2008. Myrmica obscura Finzi - a good ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) endemic to Italy. Fragmenta Faunistica (Warsaw) Volume: 51 Issue: 2 Page(s): 91-100.
  • Finzi B. 1926. Le forme europee del genere Myrmica Latr. Primo contributo. Bollettino della Società Adriatica di Scienze Naturali in Trieste. 29: 71-119.
  • Weber N. A. 1948. A revision of the North American ants of the genus Myrmica Latreille with a synopsis of the Palearctic species. II. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 41: 267-308.