Red wood ant Formica rufa, copyright Richard Bartz.

Belongs within: Formicini.

Formica, wood ants, is a genus of relatively large ants found primarily in northern temperate regions. They are primarily inhabitants of open woodlands where they have ready access to wood for the construction of mounds but are still exposed to light.

Characters (from Wheeler & Wheeler 1990): Larger ants (2.5–9 mm long); antenna with twelve segments; frontal carina prominent, its lateral margin slightly raised; ocelli conspicuous; maxillary palp with six segments; propodeal spiracle a narrow slit.

Formica Linnaeus 1758 (see below for synonymy) Z01
    |--F. rufa group WW90
    |    |--*F. rufa Linnaeus 1758 B03 [incl. F. dorsata L1802a, F. maxima L1802a]
    |    |    |--F. r. rufa HB69
    |    |    `--F. r. rufopratensis HB69
    |    |--F. calviceps Cole 1954 WW90
    |    |--F. densiventris [incl. F. rasilis] WW90
    |    |--F. haemorrhoidalis Latreille 1802 WW90, L1802a (see below for synonymy)
    |    |--F. integroides WW90
    |    |--F. lugubris S09
    |    |--F. microgyna WW90
    |    `--F. pratensis S09 [=F. rufa var. pratensis MS01]
    |--F. fusca group WW90
    |    |--F. fusca Linnaeus 1758 S-SS06 [incl. F. flavipes L1802a, F. libera L1802a]
    |    `--F. xerophila WW90
    |--F. neogagates group WW90
    |    |--F. bradleyi [=F. (Raptiformica) bradleyi] WW90
    |    |--F. lasioides [=F. (Proformica) lasioides] WW90
    |    |--F. limata [=F. (Proformica) limata] WW90
    |    |--F. manni [=F. (Raptiformica) manni] WW90
    |    |--F. neogagates [=F. (Proformica) neogagates] WW90
    |    |--F. oregonensis [=F. (Raptiformica) oregonensis] WW90
    |    `--F. perpilosa [=F. (Raptiformica) perpilosa] WW90
    |--F. pallidefulva group WW90
    |    |--F. archboldi [=F. (Neoformica) archboldi] WW90
    |    |--F. pallidefulva Latreille 1802 L1802a [=F. (Neoformica) pallidefulva WW90]
    |    `--F. schaufussi [=F. (Neoformica) schaufussi] WW90
    `--F. sanguinea group WW90
         |--F. sanguinea Latr. 1798 B03
         `--F. subnuda [=F. sanguinea subnuda] WW90

Formica incertae sedis:
  F. abdominalis Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. aegyptiaca L1802a
  F. aethiops Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. albipennis Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. amyoti Le Guillou 1841 TB85
  F. analis L1802a
  F. apicalis Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. aquilonia WD04
  F. arenaria L1802a
  F. argentea ES12
  F. armigera Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. aserva ES12
  F. aurulenta Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. badia Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. balcanica CM07
  F. bicolor Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. bidens Linnaeus 1758 L58
  F. binodis L1802a
  F. biscutata L1802a
  F. bispinosa Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. bituberculata Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. brunnea L1802a
  F. candida Smith 1878 (n. d.) B03
  F. capitata L1802a
  F. carbonaria Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. castanea Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. cephalotes Linnaeus 1758 L58 [incl. F. grossa L1802a, F. magna L1802a]
  F. chelifera Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. cinerea MS01
  F. calvata L1802b
  F. coeca Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. conica Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. cunicularia [incl. F. media, F. obsoleta] L1802a
  F. curiosa ES12
  F. curvidentata Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. cylindrica Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. decipiens ES12
  F. depressa Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. didyma L1802a
  F. elongata L1802a
  F. emarginata L1802a
  F. erytrocephala L1802a
  F. exsecta MS01
    |--F. e. exsecta MS01
    `--F. e. prebilabris MS01
  F. exsectoides Forel 1886 NT01
  F. ferruginea L1802a
  F. flavescens L1802a
  F. flavicornis Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. foetens L1802a
  F. foetida Linnaeus 1758 L58
  F. foreli [incl. F. goesswaldi, F. naefi, F. tamarae] S09
  F. francoeuri Bolton 1995 NT01
  F. fugax L1802a
  F. fuscoptera L1802a
  F. gagates Latr. 1798 B03 [incl. F. gagates var. transcaucasica MS01]
  F. hamata Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. hastata Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. herculeana Linnaeus 1758 L58
  F. hystrix Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. incerta ES12
  F. inequalis Lowne 1865 TB85
  F. japonica Motschulsky 1866 [incl. F. fusca var. nipponensis Forel 1900] Z01
  F. lateralis Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. lemani L2002
  F. longinoda Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. longipes Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. melanogastes Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. militaris L1802a
  F. minuta Lowne 1865 TB85
  F. moki BS06
  F. molestans Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. montana ES12
  F. nasuta MS01
    |--F. n. nasuta MS01
    `--F. n. mongolica Emery in Mocsáry & Szépligeti 1901 MS01
  F. nodosa Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. obscuripes Forel 1886 NT01
  F. obsoleta Linnaeus 1758 L58
  F. omnivora Linnaeus 1758 L58
  F. pallidelutea Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. pallipes Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. paralugubris S09
  F. pensylvanica L1802a
  F. picipes Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. polyctena H79
  F. pressilabris [incl. F. rufomaculata] S09
  F. pubescens [incl. F. vaga] L1802a
  F. puberula ES12
  F. purpurescens Lowne 1865 TB85
  F. pusilla [incl. F. nana Latreille 1802] L1802a
  F. quadridens L1802a
  F. quadripunctata L1802a
  F. rostrata L1802a
  F. rubida Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. rubiginosa Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. rubripes Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. rufibarbis Fabr. 1793 B03 (see below for synonymy)
  F. rufipes L1802a
  F. saccharivora Linnaeus 1758 L58
  F. salomonis Linnaeus 1758 L58
  F. sexdens Linnaeus 1758 L58
  F. sexguttata Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. spininoda Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. structor L1802a
  F. subintegra ES12
  F. subpolita ES12
  F. subrufa S09
  F. subsericea Say 1836 NT01
  F. subterranea L1802a
  F. sylvatica Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. tarsata Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. truncicola Nyl. 1847 B03
  F. truncorum ES12
  F. tuberculata Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. tuberosa L1802a
  F. ulkei Emery 1893 NT01
  F. unifasciata L1802a
  F. unispinosa Latreille 1802 L1802a
  F. uralensis MS01
  F. viatica L1802a
  F. vinculans ES12
  F. yessensis Z01

Formica Linnaeus 1758 [incl. Adformica Lomnichi 1925, Coptoformica Nueller 1933, Formicina Shuckard 1840, Hypochira Buckley 1866, Neoformica Wheeler 1913, Raptiformica Forel 1913, Serviformica Forel 1913] Z01

Formica haemorrhoidalis Latreille 1802 WW90, L1802a [=F. integra haemorrhoidalis WW90; incl. F. integra tahoensis WW90]

Formica rufibarbis Fabr. 1793 B03 [=F. fusca rufibarbis MS01; incl. F. fusca clara MS01, F. rufibarbis var. clara B03, F. defensor Smith 1878 B03, F. fraterna Smith 1878 B03, F. fusca rufibarbis var. fuscorufibarbis MS01]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B03] Bingham, C. T. 1903. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera vol. 2. Ants and Cuckoo-Wasps. Taylor and Francis: London.

[BS06] Brady, S. G., T. R. Schultz, B. L. Fisher & P. S. Ward. 2006. Evaluating alternative hypotheses for the early evolution and diversification of ants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103 (48): 18172–18177.

[CM07] Cokendolpher, J. C., & P. G. Mitov. 2007. Natural enemies. In: Pinto-da-Rocha, R., G. Machado & G. Giribet (eds) Harvestmen: The Biology of Opiliones pp. 339–373. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[ES12] Espadaler, X., & S. Santamaria. 2012. Ecto- and endoparasitic fungi on ants from the Holarctic region. Psyche 2012: 168478.

[HB69] Hirschmann, W., F. Bernhard, E. Greim & H. Götz. 1969. Gangsystematik der Parasitiformes. Teil 75. Zwanzig neue Hypoaspis-Arten. Acarologie: Schriftenreihe für Vergleichende Milbenkunde 12: 133–141.

[H79] Howse, P. E. 1979. The uniqueness of insect societies: aspects of defense and integration. In: Larwood, G., & B. R. Rosen (eds) Biology and Systematics of Colonial Organisms pp. 345–374. Academic Press: London.

[L1802a] Latreille, P. A. 1802a. Histoire Naturelle des Fourmis, et recueil de mémoires et d'observations sur les abeilles, les araignées, les faucheurs, et autres insectes. Théophile Barrois père: Paris.

[L1802b] Latreille, P. A. 1802b. Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière des crustacés et des insectes vol. 3. Familles naturelles des genres. F. Dufart: Paris.

[L2002] Lehr, P. A. 2002. Robber-flies (Diptera, Asilidae) of the subfamily Dioctriinae stat. n. (Diptera, Asilidae) of Asia: 2. Taxonomy and ecology. Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie 81 (2): 445–459.

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[MS01] Mocsáry, A., & V. Szépligeti. 1901. Hymenopterák [Hymenopteren]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 121–169. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[NT01] Newton, A. F., M. K. Thayer, J. S. Ashe & D. S. Chandler. 2001. Staphylinidae Latreille, 1802. In: Arnett, R. H., Jr & M. C. Thomas (eds) American Beetles vol. 1. Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia pp. 272–418. CRC Press: Boca Raton.

[S-SS06] Schlick-Steiner, B. C., F. M. Steiner, K. Moder, B. Seifert, M. Sanetra, E. Dyreson, C. Stauffer & E. Christian. 2006. A multidisciplinary approach reveals cryptic diversity in western Palearctic Tetramorium ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40 (1): 259–273.

[S09] Seifert, B. 2009. Cryptic species in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) revisited: we need a change in the alpha-taxonomic approach. Myrmecological News 12: 149–166.

[TB85] Taylor, R. W., & D. R. Brown. 1985. Formicoidea. In: Walton, D. W. (ed.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia vol. 2. Hymenoptera: Formicoidea, Vespoidea and Sphecoidea pp. 1–149. Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.

[WD04] Wardhaugh, C. W., & R. K. Didham. 2004. The effect of introduced wasp (Vespula vulgaris, Hymenoptera: Vespidae) predation on the dispersive life history stages of beech scale insects (Ultracoelostoma spp., Homoptera: Margarodidae). New Zealand Entomologist 27: 91–101.

[WW90] Wheeler, G. C., & J. Wheeler. 1990. Insecta: Hymenoptera Formicidae. In: Dindal, D. L. (ed.) Soil Biology Guide pp. 1277–1294. John Wiley & Sones: New York.

[Z01] Zhou, S. 2001. Ants of Guangxi. Guangxi Normal University Press: Guilin (China).

Last updated: 25 May 2020.

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