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. Several species are social parasites with young queens invading the nests of other Formica and supplanting the original queen, co-opting the nest’s workers to raise her own brood. The red wood ant F. rufa is widespread across the Palaearctic, forming large colonies that are typically polygynous (containing multiple queens) and often polydomous (forming multiple nests).

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 groupWW90
| |--*F. rufa Linnaeus 1758B03 [incl. F. dorsataL1802a, F. maximaL1802a]
| | |--F. r. rufaHB69
| | `--F. r. rufopratensisHB69
| |--F. calviceps Cole 1954WW90
| |--F. densiventris [incl. F. rasilis]WW90
| |--F. haemorrhoidalis Latreille 1802WW90, L1802a [=F. integra haemorrhoidalisWW90; incl. F. integra tahoensisWW90]
| |--F. integroidesWW90
| |--F. lugubrisS09
| |--F. microgynaWW90
| `--F. pratensisS09 [=F. rufa var. pratensisMS01]
|--F. fusca groupWW90
| |--F. fusca Linnaeus 1758S-SS06 [incl. F. flavipesL1802a, F. liberaL1802a]
| `--F. xerophilaWW90
|--F. neogagates groupWW90
| |--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 groupWW90
| |--F. archboldi [=F. (Neoformica) archboldi]WW90
| |--F. pallidefulva Latreille 1802L1802a [=F. (Neoformica) pallidefulvaWW90]
| `--F. schaufussi [=F. (Neoformica) schaufussi]WW90
`--F. sanguinea groupWW90
|--F. sanguinea Latr. 1798B03
`--F. subnuda [=F. sanguinea subnuda]WW90

Formica incertae sedis:
F. abdominalis Latreille 1802L1802a
F. aegyptiacaL1802a
F. aethiops Latreille 1802L1802a
F. affinisR26
F. albipennis Latreille 1802L1802a
F. amyoti Le Guillou 1841TB85
F. analisL1802a
F. apicalis Latreille 1802L1802a
F. aquiloniaWD04
F. arenariaL1802a
F. argenteaES12
F. armigera Latreille 1802L1802a
F. aservaES12
F. aurulenta Latreille 1802L1802a
F. badia Latreille 1802L1802a
F. balcanicaCM07
F. bicolor Latreille 1802L1802a
F. bidens Linnaeus 1758L58
F. binodisL1802a
F. biscutataL1802a
F. bispinosa Latreille 1802L1802a
F. bituberculata Latreille 1802L1802a
F. brunneaL1802a
F. candida Smith 1878 (n. d.)B03
F. capitataL1802a
F. carbonaria Latreille 1802L1802a
F. castanea Latreille 1802L1802a
F. castanipesR26
F. cephalotes Linnaeus 1758L58 [incl. F. grossaL1802a, F. magnaL1802a]
F. chelifera Latreille 1802L1802a
F. cinereaMS01
F. clavataL1802b
F. coeca Latreille 1802L1802a
F. conica Latreille 1802L1802a
F. cunicularia [incl. F. media, F. obsoleta]L1802a
F. curiosaES12
F. curvidentata Latreille 1802L1802a
F. cylindrica Latreille 1802L1802a
F. decipiensES12
F. depressa Latreille 1802L1802a
F. didymaL1802a
F. elongataL1802a
F. emarginataL1802a
F. erytrocephalaL1802a
F. exsectaMS01
|--F. e. exsectaMS01
`--F. e. prebilabrisMS01
F. exsectoides Forel 1886NT01
F. ferrugineaL1802a
F. flavescensL1802a
F. flavicornis Latreille 1802L1802a
F. floraP92
F. foetensL1802a
F. foetida Linnaeus 1758L58
F. foreli [incl. F. goesswaldi, F. naefi, F. tamarae]S09
F. francoeuri Bolton 1995NT01
F. fugaxL1802b
F. fuscopteraL1802a
F. gagates Latr. 1798B03 [incl. F. gagates var. transcaucasicaMS01]
F. haemacephalaR26
F. hamata Latreille 1802L1802a
F. hastata Latreille 1802L1802a
F. herculeana Linnaeus 1758L58
F. huberianaR26
F. hystrix Latreille 1802L1802a
F. incertaES12
F. inequalis Lowne 1865TB85
F. japonica Motschulsky 1866 [incl. F. fusca var. nipponensis Forel 1900]Z01
F. lateralis Latreille 1802L1802a
F. lemaniL2002
F. longinoda Latreille 1802L1802a
F. longipes Latreille 1802L1802a
F. melanogastes Latreille 1802L1802a
F. militarisL1802a
F. minuta Lowne 1865TB85
F. mokiBS06
F. molestans Latreille 1802L1802a
F. montanaES12
F. nasutaMS01
|--F. n. nasutaMS01
`--F. n. mongolica Emery in Mocsáry & Szépligeti 1901MS01
F. nicaeensisR26
F. nodosa Latreille 1802L1802a
F. obscuripes Forel 1886NT01
F. obsoleta Linnaeus 1758L58
F. omnivora Linnaeus 1758L58
F. pallidelutea Latreille 1802L1802a
F. pallipes Latreille 1802L1802a
F. paralugubrisS09
F. pensylvanicaL1802a
F. picipes Latreille 1802L1802a
F. polyctenaH79
F. pressilabris [incl. F. rufomaculata]S09
F. pubescensL1802b [incl. F. vagaL1802a]
F. puberulaES12
F. purpurescens Lowne 1865TB85
F. pusilla [incl. F. nana Latreille 1802]L1802a
F. quadridensL1802a
F. quadripunctataL1802b
F. redianaR26
F. rostrataL1802a
F. rubescens Risso 1826R26
F. rubida Latreille 1802L1802a
F. rubiginosa Latreille 1802L1802a
F. rubripes Latreille 1802L1802a
F. rufibarbis Fabr. 1793B03 (see below for synonymy)
F. rufipesL1802a
F. rupestrisR26
F. saccharivora Linnaeus 1758L58
F. salomonis Linnaeus 1758L58
F. sexdens Linnaeus 1758L58
F. sexguttata Latreille 1802L1802a
F. spininoda Latreille 1802L1802a
F. structorL1802b
F. subintegraES12
F. subpolitaES12
F. subrufaS09
F. subsericea Say 1836NT01
F. subterraneaL1802a
F. sylvatica Latreille 1802L1802a
F. tarsata Latreille 1802L1802a
F. truncicola Nyl. 1847B03
F. truncorumES12
F. tuberculata Latreille 1802L1802a
F. tuberosaL1802a
F. ulkei Emery 1893NT01
F. unifasciataL1802a
F. unispinosa Latreille 1802L1802a
F. uralensisMS01
F. viaticaL1802a
F. vinculansES12
F. yessensisZ01

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 rufibarbis Fabr. 1793B03 [=F. fusca rufibarbisMS01; incl. F. fusca claraMS01, F. rufibarbis var. claraB03, F. defensor Smith 1878B03, F. fraterna Smith 1878B03, F. fusca rufibarbis var. fuscorufibarbisMS01]

*Type species of generic name indicated


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

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[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.

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[P92] Poinar, G. O., Jr. 1992. Life in Amber. Stanford University Press: Stanford.

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[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.

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