Forelius mccooki

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Forelius mccooki
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Tribe: Leptomyrmecini
Genus: Forelius
Species: F. mccooki
Binomial name
Forelius mccooki
(McCook, 1879)

Forelius mccooki casent0005322 profile 1.jpg

Forelius mccooki casent0005322 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


This species nests in the soil, with the entrance surrounded by a small mound (few cms diameter); it also nests under stones. Nests may be found at the bases of desert plants. Reproductives were found in nests in June and July. This species has multiple queens in their nests. Workers are group foragers, which can be found in rapidly moving groups early in the hot afternoon when no other ants are active. Foragers capture living insects, feed on dead insects and collect nectar from a variety of desert plants ranging from the small, prostate Euphorbia spp. to foraging in the flowers of cholla (Opuntia spp). They also nest at the edges of Pogonomyrmex rugosus nests. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

At a Glance • Polygynous  


Photo Gallery

  • Forelius mccooki is a small thermophilic ant common in southwestern North America. Photo taken in Tucson, Arizona by Alex Wild.


Identification Keys including this Taxon


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Greater Antilles, Mexico.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Most common in arid habitats, but also occurs in mesic sites ranging from grasslands to cottonwood forests. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)





The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • foetida. Formica foetida Buckley, 1866: 167 (w.q.) U.S.A. Crozier, 1970: 113 (k.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1974b: 401 (l.). [Junior primary homonym of Formica foetida Linnaeus, 1758: 582 (now in Pachycondyla).] Replacement name: mccooki McCook, 1879: 187.
  • mccooki. Iridomyrmex mccooki McCook, 1880: 187 (w.) U.S.A. Junior synonym of foetida Buckley: Wheeler, W.M. 1901b: 520 and hence first available replacement name for Formica foetida Buckley, 1866: 167. [Junior primary homonym of Formica foetida Linnaeus, 1758: 582.] [Iridomyrmex maccooki Forel, 1878: 382. Nomen nudum.] Mayr, 1886d: 432 (q.m.); Forel, 1886b: xxxix (w.). Combination in Forelius: Emery, 1888d: 389. Senior synonym of andrei: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1419. See also: Cuezzo, 2000: 249; Ward, 2005: 9.
  • andrei. Forelius maccooki r. andrei Forel, 1912h: 44 (w.) U.S.A. Subspecies of foetidus: Smith, M.R. 1951a: 836. Junior synonym of foetidus: Wheeler, W.M. 1901b: 520; of mccooki: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1419.
  • maccooki. Iridomyrmex maccooki Forel, 1886b: xxxix (w.) U.S.A. (Texas).
    • [Iridomyrmex maccooki Forel, 1878: 382. Nomen nudum.]
    • Status as species: Forel, 1895b: 110; Forel, 1899c: 102; Wheeler, W.M. 1905b: 131; Emery, 1906c: 176; Wheeler, W.M. 1910g: 569; Forel, 1912h: 43; Gallardo, 1916a: 78; Cole, 1937b: 137; Wheeler, W.M. 1938: 252; Shattuck, 1994: 94 (error).
    • Junior homonym and junior synonym of mccooki McCook, 1880: 187.



  • n = 16, 2n = 32 (USA) (Crozier, 1970b; Crozier, 1975) (as F. foetidus).


  • Cuezzo, F. 2000. Revisión del género Forelius (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Dolichoderinae). Sociobiology 35: 197-275 PDF (page 249, see also)
  • Emery, C. 1888d. Über den sogenannten Kaumagen einiger Ameisen. Z. Wiss. Zool. 46: 378-412 (page 389, Combination in Forelius)
  • Forel, A. 1878c. Études myrmécologiques en 1878 (première partie) avec l'anatomie du gésier des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 15: 337-392 (page 382, Iridomyrmex maccoki, nomen nudum)
  • Forel, A. 1886c. Diagnoses provisoires de quelques espèces nouvelles de fourmis de Madagascar, récoltées par M. Grandidier. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 30:ci-cvii. (page xxxix , worker described)
  • Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae [= Stockholm]: L. Salvii, 824 pp. (page 582, Junior primary homonym of Formica foetida)
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Mayr, G. 1886d. Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 36: 419-464 (page 432, queen, male described)
  • McCook, H. C. 1880 [1879]. Formicariae. Pp. 182-189 in: Comstock, J. H. Report upon cotton insects. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 511 pp. (page 187, worker described)
  • Smith, D. R. 1979. Superfamily Formicoidea. Pp. 1323-1467 in: Krombein, K. V., Hurd, P. D., Smith, D. R., Burks, B. D. (eds.) Catalog of Hymenoptera in America north of Mexico. Volume 2. Apocrita (Aculeata). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Pr (page 1419, Senior synonym of andrei)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1901c. The compound and mixed nests of American ants. Part II. The known cases of social symbiosis among American ants. Am. Nat. 35: 513-539 (page 520, Junior synonym of foetida Buckley, 1866, and hence first available replacement name for Formica foetida Buckley.)