New England Ant Identification

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online

New England encompasses the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

There is a list of New England Ant Species

The keys below are based on the 2012 book A Field Guide to the Ants of New England


6 species


  • The first gastral tergite has long, distinct lines or grooves (striae) that radiate in a sunburst pattern from the postpetiole; head and mesosoma coaresly scultpured with dense, anastomosing ridges (rugae); the propodeal spines are very long – at least as long as the distance between their tips . . . . . Aphaenogaster mariae
Aphaenogaster mariae casent0103599 profile 1.jpg
  • First gastral tergite lacks striae; sculpturing on head and mesosoma fine; the propodeal spines normally are not longer than the distance between their tips, but if they are, the mesosoma and gaster are hairless . . . . . 2

2 (1)

  • The cheeks, as well as the dorsum of the mesosoma and gaster are hairless; the propodeal spines are very long – at least as long as the distance between their tips . . . . . Aphaenogaster tennesseensis
Aphaenogaster tennesseensis casent0103600 profile 1.jpg

  • Cheeks, mesosoma, and gaster with many erect hairs; propodeal spines normally not longer than the distance between their tips . . . . . 3

3 (2)

  • Base of antennal scape with a wide, thick lobe extending about 1/4 of the length of the scape . . . . . Aphaenogaster treatae

  • Base of antennal scape without a lobe . . . . . 4

4 (3)

  • The last four segments of the antennae are the same color as the remaining segments; the propodeal spines are short – not more than ½ the length of the propodeal declivity (rear-sloping face) – and pointed upward; the top (peak) of the mesonotum not higher than the top of the pronotum . . . . . Aphaenogaster rudis a species complex
Aphaenogaster rudis casent0104843 head 1.jpg
Aphaenogaster rudis casent0104843 profile 1.jpg
  • The last four segments of the antenna are ligher in color or paler than the remaining segments; propodeal spines at least 2/3 the length of the propodeal declivity and pointed either upwards or towards the rear; top (peak) of the mesonotum as high or higher than the top of the pronotum . . . . . 5

5 (4)

  • Propodeal spines long – at least as long as the propodeal declivity – and pointing upwards; color reddish-brown . . . . . Aphaenogaster fulva

  • Propodeal spines shorter – approximately 2/3 the length of the propodeal declivity – and pointing towards the rear; color dark brown or blackish-brown . . . . . Aphaenogaster picea a species complex


Brachymyrmex depilis casent0005338 head 1.jpg
Brachymyrmex depilis casent0005338 profile 1.jpg


Pachycondyla chinensis casent0104738 head 1.jpg
Pachycondyla chinensis casent0104738 profile 1.jpg


8 species

Key to Camponotus of New England


2 species

  • No erect hairs on mesosoma except for 1-2 pairs of erect hairs on the corners of the pronotum . . . . . Crematogaster cerasi
Crematogaster cerasi casent0103776 head 1.jpg
Crematogaster cerasi casent0103776 profile 1.jpg
Crematogaster lineolata casent0103781 head 1.jpg
Crematogaster lineolata casent0103781 profile 1.jpg


4 species

There are only 4 species of Dolichoderus in all of North America. All of these species have a range that includes New England.

Key to North American Dolichoderus Species


Forelius pruinosus casent0005320 head 1.jpg
Forelius pruinosus casent0005320 profile 1.jpg


31 species

Key to New England Formica

Formica adamsi hef.jpg
Formica adamsi hal.jpg
Mcz-ent00668527 Formica argentea hef.jpg
Mcz-ent00668527 Formica argentea hal.jpg
Formica aserva casent0005395 head 1.jpg
Formica aserva casent0005395 profile 1.jpg
Formica creightoni casent0103450 head 1.jpg
Formica creightoni casent0103450 profile 1.jpg
Formica dakotensis casent0005385 head 1.jpg
Formica dakotensis casent0005385 profile 1.jpg
Formica difficilis casent0102161 head 1.jpg
Formica difficilis casent0102161 profile 1.jpg
Formica dirksi casent0105597 head 1.jpg
Formica dirksi casent0105597 profile 1.jpg
Formica dolosa casent0103933 head 1.jpg
Formica dolosa casent0103933 profile 1.jpg
Formica exsectoides casent0104768 head 1.jpg
Formica exsectoides casent0104768 profile 1.jpg
Formica glacialis casent0104762 head 1.jpg
Formica glacialis casent0104762 profile 1.jpg
MCZ-ENT00670925 Formica hewitti hef.jpg
MCZ-ENT00670925 Formica hewitti hal.jpg
Formica impexa casent0103361 head 1.jpg
Formica impexa casent0103361 profile 1.jpg
Formica integra casent0105554 head 1.jpg
Formica integra casent0105554 profile 1.jpg
Formica knighti casent0104873 head 1.jpg
Formica knighti casent0104873 profile 1.jpg
Formica lasioides casent0005380 head 1.jpg
Formica lasioides casent0005380 profile 1.jpg
Formica neogagates casent0005382 head 1.jpg
Formica neogagates casent0005382 profile 1.jpg
Formica neorufibarbis casent0005371 head 1.jpg
Formica neorufibarbis casent0005371 profile 1.jpg
Formica pallidefulva casent0103931 head 1.jpg
Formica pallidefulva casent0103931 profile 1.jpg
Formica podzolica casent0005373 head 1.jpg
Formica podzolica casent0005373 profile 1.jpg
Formica querquetulana casent0005289 head 1.jpg
Formica querquetulana casent0005289 profile 1.jpg
Formica subaenescens casent0102156 head 1.jpg
Formica subaenescens casent0102156 profile 1.jpg
Formica subintegra casent0104771 head 1.jpg
Formica subintegra casent0104771 profile 1.jpg
Formica subsericea casent0103942 head 1.jpg
Formica subsericea casent0103942 profile 1.jpg




Harpogoxenus-canadensis MCZ001H.jpg
Harpogoxenus-canadensis MCZ001L.jpg


Hypoponera punctatissima head CAS0172336.jpg
Hypoponera punctatissima side CAS0172336.jpg


17 species

Key to New England Lasius

Lasius alienus casent0005401 head 1.jpg
Lasius alienus casent0005401 profile 1.jpg
Lasius claviger casent0103542 head 1.jpg
Lasius claviger casent0103542 profile 1.jpg
Lasius flavus casent0173167 head 1.jpg
Lasius flavus casent0173167 profile 1.jpg
Lasius interjectus casent0103545 head 1.jpg
Lasius interjectus casent0103545 profile 1.jpg
Lasius latipes casent0005399 head 1.jpg
Lasius latipes casent0005399 profile 1.jpg
Lasius minutus casent0104880 head 1.jpg
Lasius minutus casent0104880 profile 1.jpg
  • Lasius murphyi - occurs in areas around New England and is likely to be found here
Lasius nearcticus casent0104774 head 1.jpg
Lasius nearcticus casent0104774 profile 1.jpg
Lasius neoniger casent0005403 head 1.jpg
Lasius neoniger casent0005403 profile 1.jpg
Lasius pallitarsis casent0005405 head 1.jpg
Lasius pallitarsis casent0005405 profile 1.jpg
Lasius subglaber casent0104878 head 1.jpg
Lasius subglaber casent0104878 profile 1.jpg
Lasius subumbratus casent0005408 head 1.jpg
Lasius subumbratus casent0005408 profile 1.jpg
Lasius umbratus casent0103993 head 1.jpg
Lasius umbratus casent0103993 profile 1.jpg


5 species


  • Ant with numerous erect hairs on the antennal scapes and tibiae; a species of boreal bogs; occurs in areas north of New England and may also be found here . . . . . Leptothorax sphagnicola
Leptothorax sphagnicola casent0104801 head 1.jpg
Leptothorax sphagnicola casent0104801 profile 1.jpg
  • Erect hairs absent on antennal scapes or tibiae; wooded or open habitats, rarely bogs . . . . . 2

2 (1)

  • Clypeus deeply notched; queens very small; most common in boreal forests, but extending into boreal-temperate transition zone, especially in stands dominated by Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) . . . . . Leptothorax retractus
  • Clypeus not notched . . . . . 3

3 (2)

  • Six teeth clearly visible on mandibles of workers and queens; lower surface of the post-petiole with or without a prominent tooth . . . . . 4
  • Only one tooth (an apical one) present on mandible of the queens; lower surface of the post-petiole with a prominent tooth; any workers (with six teeth) that are present in the colony are those of this species’ host (Leptothorax sp. AF-can) . . . . . Leptothorax wilsoni

4 (3)

  • Ant dark-brown to black, hairs on mesosoma short (< 0.04 mm); no anterior process visible on lower surface of post-petiole; a widespread species in northeastern woodlands . . . . . Leptothorax sp. AF-can - an undescribed species
  • Ant light-brown to brown. Hairs on mesosoma long (> 0.07 mm); anterior process visible on lower surface of post-petiole; relatively uncommon species of dry open or disturbed woodlands . . . . . Leptothorax sp. AF-erg - an undescribed species


4 species


  • Ant concolorous, dark green to black . . . . . 2
  • Ant bi-colored, or if concolorous, then yellow-to-light brown with a black-tipped gaster . . . . . 3


  • Length of the dorsal surface of the propodeum is shorter than the length of the sloping, posterior surface of the propodeum (the declivity); body black; widespread throughout New England . . . . . Monomorium emarginatum
Monomorium emarginatum casent0103536 head 1.jpg
Monomorium emarginatum casent0103536 profile 1.jpg
  • Length of the dorsal surface of the propodeum is longer than the length of the declivity; body dark green to black; nests only in pure sandy soils . . . . . Monomorium viridum
Monomorium viridum casent0104112 h 1 high.jpg
Monomorium viridum casent0104112 p 1 high.jpg


  • Ant uniformly yellow-red or light brown, except for the gaster, which is at least dark brown or black at the tip, but may be entierely dark brown or black . . . . . Monomorium pharaonis
Monomorium pharaonis casent0104095 head 1.jpg
Monomorium pharaonis casent0104095 profile 1.jpg
  • A bi-colored ant with a dark head and gaster and a light brown mesosoma . . . . . Monomorium floricola
Monomorium floricola ANIC32-053518 head 100-Antwiki.jpg
Monomorium floricola ANIC32-053518 side 80-Antwiki.jpg


Myrmecina americana casent0104118 head 1.jpg
Myrmecina americana casent0104118 profile 1.jpg


21 species

Key to New England Myrmica

Myrmica alaskensis casent0104830 head 1.jpg
Myrmica alaskensis casent0104830 profile 1.jpg
Myrmica brevispinosa casent0104831 head 1.jpg
Myrmica brevispinosa casent0104831 profile 1.jpg
Mcz-ent00668928 Myrmica detritinodis hef.jpg
Mcz-ent00668928 Myrmica detritinodis hal.jpg
Myrmica incompleta casent0005703 head 1.jpg
Myrmica incompleta casent0005703 profile 1.jpg
  • Myrmica lampra - occurs in areas north of New England and may also be found here
Francoeur 1968 M lampra.jpg
Myrmica latifrons casent0104815 head 1.jpg
Myrmica latifrons casent0104815 profile 1.jpg
Myrmica lobifrons casent0105638 head 1.jpg
Myrmica lobifrons casent0105638 profile 1.jpg
MCZ-ENT00023152 Myrmica sabuleti subsp. nearctica hef.jpg
MCZ-ENT00023152 Myrmica sabuleti subsp. nearctica hal1.jpg
Myrmica semiparasitica holotype MCZ head.jpg
Myrmica semiparasitica holotype MCZ side.jpg


3 species


  • Antennal scapes without erect hairs; workers lack ocelli; a native, widespread species . . . . . Nylanderia parvula
Paratrechina parvula casent0003319 head 1.jpg
Paratrechina parvula casent0003319 profile 1.jpg
  • Antennal scapes with at least one erect hair, workers with many more hairs; workers, if present, have small ocelli 2


  • Antennal scapes of workers and queens with many erect hairs; workers with small ocelli; an introduced species currently recorded in New England only from inside heated buildings and greenhouses . . . . . Nylanderia flavipes
Paratrechina flavipes casent0008645 head 1.jpg
Paratrechina flavipes casent0008645 profile 1.jpg
  • Colonies consisting of queens and males relying on host workers of N. parvula; queens have at least one erect hair on at least one of the antennal scapes, but host workers lack erect hairs on their antennal scapes; queens < 2 mm long . . . . . Nylanderia deceptrix


Paratrechina longicornis casent0063128 head 1.jpg
Paratrechina longicornis casent0063128 profile 1.jpg


2 species

  • In dorsal view, the post-petiole of the major workers is more-or-less diamond-shaped with sharp corners; ant brown; our only native New England species . . . . . Pheidole pilifera
Pheidole pilifera casent0102866 head 1.jpg
Pheidole pilifera casent0102866 profile 1.jpg
  • In dorsal view, post-petiole of the majors is more-or-less round or oval-shaped, lacking sharp corners; ant yellow; a tropical species encountered in New England only indoors . . . . . Pheidole flavens
Pheidole flavens casent0178022 head 1.jpg
Pheidole flavens casent0178022 profile 1.jpg


3 species


  • The workers have 20 or more, coarse, dark, erect hairs on the rear margin of their heads; the host is Formica dolosa; this largest of our Polyergus species has workers generally > 6.5 mm long . . . . . Polyergus cf. longicornis - an undescribed species
  • Workers with < 10 erect hairs on the rear margin of the head; enslaves other Formica species, but never F. dolosa. Workers generally < 6 mm long . . . . . 2


  • Workers with at least 5, and usually 10 erect hairs on the rear margin of the head; enslaves F. incerta; body very shiny, head usually shiny . . . . . Polyergus lucidus
  • Workers usually with no erect hairs, but never more than 5 erect hairs, on the rear margin of the head; enslaves Formica pallidefulva; body and head with a matte (not shiny) appearance; occurs in areas east of New England and may also be found here . . . . . Polyergus montivagus


Ponera pennsylvanica casent0003322 head 1.jpg
Ponera pennsylvanica casent0003322 profile 1.jpg


Prenolepis imparis casent0005429 head 1.jpg
Prenolepis imparis casent0005429 profile 1.jpg


3 species


  • Second gastral segment enlarged; subsequent segments located below and near the front of the second segment; anterior border of the clypeus slightly convex with a projecting median lobe; petiole low and rounded when viewed from above . . . . . Proceratium pergandei
Proceratium pergandei casent0104443 head 1.jpg
Proceratium pergandei casent0104443 profile 1.jpg
  • Third and later gastral segments located below but near the back of the second segment; anterior border of clypeus without a median lobe; petiole relatively high and rectangular when viewed from above . . . . . 2


  • Petiole thick in profile (the crest is almost as thick as the base); frontal area ¼ as wide as head; frontal carinae diverge towards the top of the head; erect hairs on gaster short and sparse . . . . . Proceratium crassicorne
Proceratium crassicorne casent0104436 head 1.jpg
Proceratium crassicorne casent0104436 profile 1.jpg
  • Petiole slender in profile (crest distinctly thinner than base); frontal area >¼ as wide as head; frontal carinae strongly divergent towards the bottom of the head. Erect hairs on gaster long and dense. . . . . . Proceratium silaceum
Proceratium silaceum casent0104234 head 1.jpg
Proceratium silaceum casent0104234 profile 1.jpg


2 species

  • In dorsal view, the post-petiole is noticeably wider than the petiole; in profile view, the summit of the petiole is relatively narrow; the ant is yellow-brown and nests in a wide variety of soils, but never in pure sand . . . . . Solenopsis molesta
Solenopsis molesta casent0005805 head 1.jpg
Solenopsis molesta casent0005805 profile 1.jpg
  • In dorsal view, the post-petiole is approximately as wide as the petiole; in profile view, the summit of the petiole is relatively broad; a lemon-yellow ant that nests only in pure sand . . . . . Solenopsis cf. texana


4 species


  • Compound eye with 5 – 12 facets (ommatidia) in its widest diameter, and > 20 facets total; relatively large for a Stenamma (total length 2.75 – 4.0mm) . . . . . Stenamma brevicorne
  • Compound eye with 3 – 6 facets in its widest diameter and < 15 facets total; a smaller species (total length 2 – 3.5mm) . . . . . 2


  • Compound eyes very small, consisting of 3 – 6 facets; mesosoma sculptured with pronounced punctures, giving the ant a matte appearance . . . . . Stenamma schmittii
Stenamma schmitti casent0104796 head 1.jpg
Stenamma schmitti casent0104796 profile 1.jpg
  • Compound eyes larger, consisting of 8 – 15 facets . . . . . 3


  • Compound eye with 4 – 5 small facets across its widest diameter; total length 2.7 – 3.5mm; conspicuous sculpturing on the pronotum, but the promesonotum and the post-petiole are usually smooth and shiny; common north of Massachusetts . . . . . Stenamma diecki
  • Compound eye with 5 – 6 coarse facets across its widest diameter; total length 2.3 – 2.7mm; sculpturing on the mesosoma is faint, and extends to the promesonotum and post-petiole (i.e., not smooth and shiny); more common in Massachusetts and southern New England . . . . . Stenamma impar


Amblyopone pallipes antwiki01.jpg


3 species


  • In full face view, mandibles elongate, narrow, and with teeth only on the anterior third to half of the mandibles; the first (basal) and third mandibular teeth are sharp, but the second mandibular tooth is broad and blunt . . . . . Strumigenys pergandei
Pyramica pergandei casent0104882 head 1.jpg
Pyramica pergandei casent0104882 profile 1.jpg
  • In full face view, mandibles triangular-to-elongate, with teeth along the entire surface except for a small gap between the clypeus and the basal tooth . . . . . 2


  • The hairs on the clypeal margins, both lateral and anterior, curve towards the mandibles; paired erect hairs on dorsum, mesonotum, and first gastral segment are long, straight, and sharp; antennal hairs curved; antennal hairs closest to the base of the scape have broad, rounded (spatulate) ends, those further up the scape are not blunt-tipped . . . . . Strumigenys metazytes
Pyramica metazytes casent0104893 head 1.jpg
Pyramica metazytes casent0104893 profile 1.jpg
  • Hairs on the lateral clypeal margins curve towards the mandibles, but those on the anterior margin curve away from the mandibles; paired erect hairs on dorsum, mesonotum, and first gastral segment are short and whip-like (flagellate); antennal hairs curved and all are spatulate . . . . . Strumigenys pulchella
Pyramica pulchella casent0104483 head 1.jpg
Pyramica pulchella casent0104483 profile 1.jpg


3 species


  • Workers tiny, < 1.5 mm long; head and mesosoma brown, gaster and legs milky white; a tropical species that is a rare inhabitant of greenhouses and other heated structures in New England . . . . . Tapinoma melanocephalum
Tapinoma melanocephalum casent0008659 head 1.jpg
Tapinoma melanocephalum casent0008659 profile 1.jpg
  • Workers larger, 2.5 – 3.5 mm long; ants uniformly brown . . . . . 2


  • Queens generally large, at least 5.5 mm; queens and males produced and fly in mid-summer (late July to early August) . . . . . Tapinoma sessile
Tapinoma sessile casent0005329 head 1.jpg
Tapinoma sessile casent0005329 profile 1.jpg
  • Queens much smaller, 2.0 – 2.5 mm long; queens and males produced and fly in late summer (mid-August to late September); a rare inquiline social parasite of T. sessile. Note: workers are not produed by this species – if workers are observed in the colony, they are the workers of the host, T. sessile . . . . . *Tapinoma new species


6 species

One species, Temnothorax americanus was not included in this key as in 2012 it was considered to be Protomognathus americanus. This species is a social parasite of a number of Temnothorax species that occur in New England.


  • The post-petiole is massive – its width is 1.5X the width of the petiole; antennae with 12 segments; roughly sculptured with rugae on head, mesosoma, petiole, and post-petiole; gaster smooth and glossy; color dark brown/black . . . . . Temnothorax texanus
  • Post-petiole < 1.25X width of the petiole; antennae with 11 segments; color black or orange-yellow . . . . . 2


  • Head covered with fine lines (striae); propodeal spines short, length < ½ the distance between their bases; color normally dark brown . . . . . Temnothorax schaumii
Temnothorax schaumii casent0104047 head 1.jpg
Temnothorax schaumii casent0104047 profile 1.jpg
  • Head smooth or with net-like (reticulate) sculpturing, but not finely striated; propodeal spines longer than ½ the distance between their bases; color yellowish-orange to dark brown or black . . . . . 3


  • A dark brown to black ant; dorsum of head smooth, shining; propodeal spines very long, pointing nearly straight back . . . . . Temnothorax longispinosus
MCZ-ENT00593102 Temnothorax longispinosus hef.jpg
MCZ-ENT00593102 Temnothorax longispinosus hal.jpg
  • A yellowish-brown ant; top of head sculptured . . . . . 4


  • Propodeal spines well-separated at base; each spine shorter than the distance separating their bases; gaster uniform in color; post-petiole notably broader than long . . . . . Temnothorax ambiguus
  • Propodeal spines close together at base; each spine much longer than the distance separating their bases; gaster with a dark splotch or stripe; post-petiole nearly square (subquadrate), i.e., not significantly broader than long . . . . . Temnothorax curvispinosus
Temnothorax curvispinosus casent0003234 head 1.jpg
Temnothorax curvispinosus casent0003234 profile 1.jpg


Tetramorium immigrans F19a.jpg
Tetramorium immigrans F19b-c.jpg

Tetramorium immigrans, the sidewalk ant, is a common ant in urban and suburban areas. Tetramorium atratulum is a workerless inquiline that parasites T. immigrans. The parasite has only been collected a handful of times in North America.