Formica altipetens

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Formica altipetens
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. altipetens
Binomial name
Formica altipetens
Wheeler, W.M., 1913

Formica altipetens casent0005360 profile 1.jpg

Formica altipetens casent0005360 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

This ant nests in the soil with entrances surrounded by a small mound, or under stones and logs, sometimes covered with detritus. Nest populations are large, and the ants are very aggressive when the nest is disturbed. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)


The metasternal process of the worker (and female) is well developed and surrounded by hairs. The eyes are large, the maximum diameter is about equal to the distance from the anterior border of the eye to the insertion of the mandible. There is usually a pair of erect hairs on the ventral surface of the head, a few hairs on the vertex, and several blunt-tipped hairs on the propodeum, the mesopleuron is usually without erect hairs, as are the cheeks and posterior lateral corners. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

Keys including this Species


Canada: Alberta. United States: Montana south to New Mexico, west to California.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


In New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002): Forested and open areas, ranging from meadows, pinyon-pine, ponderosa pines, Gamble oak forests to spruce forests.


For New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002): Reproductives were found in nests in June and August, flights occurred during the first part of July (sexuals are attracted to lights). It is enslaved by Formica rubicunda, Formica wheeleri and Polyergus breviceps.

Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec



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

  • altipetens. Formica cinerea var. altipetens Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 399 (diagnosis in key) (w.) U.S.A. [Formica cinerea subsp. cinerea var. altipetens Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 523 (w.q.m.); unavailable name.] Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953c: 160 (l.). Subspecies of cinerea: Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 550; Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, E.W. 1944: 259. Raised to species: Creighton, 1950a: 531. See also: Francoeur, 1973: 52.

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


Francoeur 1973. Figures 39-55.


  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 531, raised to species)
  • Francoeur, A. 1973. Révision taxonomique des espèces néarctiques du groupe fusca, genre Formica (Formicidae, Hymenoptera). Mém. Soc. Entomol. Qué. 3: 1-316 (page 52, see also)
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, E. W. 1944. The ants of North Dakota. N. D. Hist. Q. 11: 231-271 (page 259, Variety/subspecies of cinerea)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1953c. The ant larvae of the subfamily Formicinae. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 46: 126-171 (page 160, larva described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1913i. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 53: 379-565 (page 399, (diagnosis in key) worker described; page 523, Formica cinerea subsp. cinerea var. altipetens; unavailable name: worker, queen, male described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1917a. The mountain ants of western North America. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 52: 457-569 (page 550, Variety/subspecies of cinerea)