Formica subsericea

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Formica subsericea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. subsericea
Binomial name
Formica subsericea
Say, 1836

Formica subsericea casent0103942 profile 1.jpg

Formica subsericea casent0103942 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

At a Glance • Polygynous  


Photo Gallery

  • Foraging worker from Shirley, Massachusetts. Photo by Tom Murray.
  • Formica subsericea worker returning to her next with a food item.
  • Formica rubicunda and host Formica subsericea, eastern Missouri oak woodland.
  • Formica subsericea and Polyergus mexicanus warming up just beneath the surface of their mound (March, 2015). James Trager found this nest under a small soil clod.
  • Polyergus mexicanus with Formica subsericea at Shaw Nature Reserve, Missouri. Photo by James Trager.
  • Formica subsericea tending two species of aphids on one leaf, near Gray Summit, Missouri. Photo by James Trager.


Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Gripshover et al. (2018) examined the mechanics of how workers of this species are able to move across and through water.

Formica subsericea is known to be enslaved by Formica densiventris, Formica densiventris, Formica pergandei and Polyergus mexicanus, and to be a host for the temporary parasites Formica dakotensis and probably Formica knighti.

Polyergus mexicanus and Formica subsericea in an oak woodland in eastern Missouri, USA (James Trager).


This species is a host for the fungus Laboulbenia formicarum (a pathogen) (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).



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

  • subsericea. Formica subsericea Say, 1836: 289 (w.m.) U.S.A. Junior synonym of fusca: Mayr, 1886d: 426; Creighton, 1950a: 532. Revived from synonymy as subspecies of fusca: Emery, 1893i: 659; Buren, 1944a: 300. Revived from synonymy, raised to species and senior synonym of lecontei: Francoeur, 1973: 172.
  • lecontei. Formica lecontei Kennedy & Dennis, 1937: 542 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. Junior synonym of fusca: Creighton, 1950a: 532; of subsericea: Francoeur, 1973: 172.

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


Francoeur 1973. Figures 291-306.


  • Buren, W. F. 1944a. A list of Iowa ants. Iowa State Coll. J. Sci. 18: 277-312 (page 300, revived from synonymy as variety/subspecies of fusca)
  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 532, Junior synonym of fusca)
  • Emery, C. 1893k. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 7: 633-682 (page 659, revived from synonymy as variety/subspecies of fusca)
  • Espadaler, X., Santamaria, S. 2012. Ecto- and Endoparasitic Fungi on Ants from the Holarctic Region. Psyche Article ID 168478, 10 pages (doi:10.1155/2012/168478).
  • Francoeur, A. 1973. Révision taxonomique des espèces néarctiques du groupe fusca, genre Formica (Formicidae, Hymenoptera). Mém. Soc. Entomol. Qué. 3: 1-316 (page 172, revived from synonymy, raised to species, and senior synonym of lecontei)
  • Gripshover, N. D., S. P. Yanoviak, and E. M. Gora. 2018. A Functional Comparison of Swimming Behavior in Two Temperate Forest Ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus and Formica subsericea) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 111:319-325. doi:10.1093/aesa/say026
  • Mayr, G. 1886d. Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 36: 419-464 (page 426, Junior synonym of fusca)
  • Say, T. 1836. Descriptions of new species of North American Hymenoptera, and observations on some already described. Boston J. Nat. Hist. 1: 209-305 (page 289, worker, male described)