Proformica longiseta

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Proformica longiseta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Proformica
Species: P. longiseta
Binomial name
Proformica longiseta
Collingwood, 1978

Proformica longiseta casent0912280 p 1 high.jpg

Proformica longiseta casent0912280 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Note: As the original description lacks the designation of type-material, this name is unavailable and cannot be used for nomenclatorial purposes.

Sanllorente et al. (2015) - Proformica longiseta is an endemic polygynous ant found in southeastern Spain that inhabits high mountains. It is widespread within its altitude range but occurs as isolated populations within specific habitat patches. These patches are effectively isolated by the geological characteristics of the mountainous terrain. Population genetics and biogeographic analysis show their populations are strongly structured and exhibit isolation by distance, which together with the absence of intrapopulation variation in mitochondrial DNA suggest strong female philopatry and limited male dispersal. In spite of this no recent bottlenecks or inbreeding are detectable.

At a Glance • Polygynous  • Brachypterous Queen  • Diploid male  




Iberian high mountains at an altitude range of 1800–2800 masl.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Iberian Peninsula, Spain (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Isolated patches of mountain arid-steppe habitat characterized by strong seasonality (hot, dry summers and long, cold winters).


Sanllorente et al. (2015) - Found in isolated patches of arid steppe habitat in Iberian high mountains at an altitude range of 1800–2800 masl (Fernández-Escudero and Tinaut 1999). Nest densities are high (0.18 ± 0.01 SE nest/ m2), with P. longiseta being the most abundant species in its preferred habitat (Fernández-Escudero and Tinaut 1999). Abiotic conditions are characterized by strong seasonality (hot, dry summers in contrast to long, cold winters) which imposes a substantial diapause period (Fernández-Escudero and Tinaut 1998). Females are wingless. Queens can form new nests by budding, a process that can also involve more than a single queen (Fernández-Escudero et al. 2001). A 2006 study suggested some genetic structuring but without isolation by distance at one locality within one of the high mountains, Sierra Nevada (Seppä et al. 2006). This 2015 study examined 14 populations across a wide range using nuclear (microsatellites) and mitochondrial genetic data. Populations were strongly structured and exhibit isolation by distance. P. longiseta is likely strongly affected by female philopatry and dependent colony founding, i.e, queens mating near their natal nest and leaving on foot with a limited work force to start their new nest (Bourke and Franks 1995; Seppä et al. 2006). Estimates of gene flow by each sex also support this conclusion as males do not seem to be much more efficient than females at dispersal, despite being winged. Populations show no evidence of inbreeding or major reduction in nuclear genetic diversity.

Association with Other Organisms

This species is a host for the ant Rossomyrmex minuchae (a slave maker).


Fernández-Escudero et al. (2001) described brachypterous queens in this species.

Diploid males are known to occur in this species (found in 1% of 102 examined nests) (Fernández-Escudero et al., 2002; Cournault & Aron, 2009).


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

  • longiseta. Proformica longiseta Collingwood, 1978: 74 (in list), 92 (in key) (w.) SPAIN.

Taxonomic Notes

As the original description lacks the designation of type-material, this name is unavailable and cannot be used for nomenclatorial purposes.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Agosti D. 1994. The phylogeny of the ant tribe Formicini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with the description of a new genus. Systematic Entomology 19: 93-117.
  • Borowiec L. 2014. Catalogue of ants of Europe, the Mediterranean Basin and adjacent regions (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Genus (Wroclaw) 25(1-2): 1-340.
  • Errard C., F. Ruano, F. J. Richard, A. Lenoir, A. Tinaut, and A. Hefetz. 2006. Co-evolution-driven cuticular hydrocarbon variation between the slave-making ant Rossomyrmex minuchae and its host Proformica longiseta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Chemoecology 16: 235–240.
  • Fernandez-Escudero, I., P. Seppa and P. Pamilo. 2001. Dependent colony founding in the ant Proformica longiseta. Insectes Sociaux 48: 80-82
  • Fernández, I., A. Tinaut, and F. Ruano. "Ovarian maturation under cold winter conditions in a high-mountain ant." Environmental Entomology 26 (1997): 1373-1377.
  • Fernández, I., M. Ballesta, and A. Tinaut. "Worker polymorphism in Proformica longiseta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)." Sociobiology 24 (1994): 39-46.
  • Gomez K., P. Lorite, F. Garcia, A. Tinaut, X. Espadaler, T. Palomeque, O. Sanllorente, and J. Trager. 2018. Differentiating Iberoformica and Formica (Serviformica) with description of the sexual castes of Formica (Serviformica) gerardi Bondroit, 1917 stat. rev. Sociobiology 65(3): 463-470.
  • Muñoz-López M., T. Palomeque, J. A. Carrillo, J. Pons, A. Tinaut, and P. Lorite. 2012. A new taxonomic status for Iberoformica (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) based on the use of molecular markers. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 50: 30-37.
  • Ruano F., O. Sanllorente, A. Lenoir, and A. Tinaut. 2013. Rossomyrmex, the slave-maker ants from the arid steppe environments. Psyche Article ID 541804, 7 pages.
  • Sanllorente O., P. Lorite, F. Ruano, T. Palomeque, and A. Tinaut. 2017. Phylogenetic relationships between the slave-making ants Rossomyrmex and their Proformica hosts in relation to other genera of the ant tribe Formicini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J Zool Syst Evol Res. 1–13.
  • Seppa, P., I. Fernandez-Escudero, N. Gyllenstrand and P. Pamilo. 2006. Obligatory female philopatry affects genetic population structure in the ant Proformica longiseta. Insectes Sociaux 53:362-368
  • Tinaut A. 2016. Ants of the Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Mountains Natural Park (Andalusia, Spain) (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Boln. Asoc. esp. Ent., 40 (1-2): 125-159.
  • Tinaut, A., and F. Ruano. "Descripción del macho del género Rossomyrmex Arnoldi, 1928." Nouvelle Revue d'Entomologie (n.s.) 11 (1995): 347-351.
  • Tinaut, A. "Estudio de la mirmecofauna de los Borreguiles del S. Juan (Sierra Nevada, Granada)." Boletín de la Asociación Española de Entomología 3 (1979): 173-183.