Formica candida

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Formica candida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. candida
Binomial name
Formica candida
Smith, F., 1878

Formica candida casent0173328 profile 1.jpg

Formica candida casent0173328 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Common Name
Language: Japanese

Formica candida nests in the soil under stones and near grass roots. Chromosome number 2n=52 (Imai, 1969) - different from other species of subgenus Serviformica, which have 2n=54 (Japanese Ant Image Database).


Within Japan this species is distinguished from other Formica species by the sparsity of pubescence on the dorsum of its first gastral tergite. Long white hairs are often seen on the ventral side of the head.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 56.15° to 27.433333°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: India.
Palaearctic Region: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, China, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Japan, Kyrgyzstan (type locality), Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.


Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.




Formica candida collect honeydew. Novgorodova (2015b) investigated ant-aphid interactions of a dozen honeydew collecting ant species in Western Siberia pine and aspen-birch-pine forests (54°7´N, 83°06´E, 200 m, Novosibirsk) and mixed-grass-cereal steppes with aspen-birch groves (53°44´N, 78°02´E, 110 m, near Karasuk) in the Novosibirsk Region and coniferous forests in the northeastern Altai (north end of Lake Teletskoe, 51°48´N, 87°17´E, 434 m). All of the ants studied had workers that showed high fidelity to attending particular aphid colonies, i.e, individual foragers that collect honeydew tend to return to the same location, and group of aphids, every time they leave the nest. F. candida showed some specialization beyond this in larger colonies (<1,000 workers). Some ants specialized on attending specific aphid colonies and primarily guarding the aphids from potential enemies. F. candida tended Symydobius oblongus (Heyden) and Aphis craccivora Koch.

Association with Other Organisms

  • This species is a host for the ant Formica brunneonitida (a temporary parasite) (Seifert & Schultz, 2021).
  • This species is a host for the ant Formica pisarskii (a temporary parasite) (Seifert & Schultz, 2021).
  • This species is a host for the ant Formica sanguinea (a slave maker).
  • This species is a host for the ant Polyergus nigerrimus (a slave maker) (Trager, 2013; de la Mora et al., 2021).



The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • candida. Formica candida Smith, F. 1878b: 11 (q.) KYRGYZSTAN. [Smith's description is repeated by Bingham, 1903: 335 (footnote).] Probable synonym of picea Nylander: Emery, 1925b: 249. Junior synonym of picea Nylander: Dlussky, 1967a: 61. Hence candida first available replacement name for Formica picea Nylander, 1846a: 917 [Junior primary homonym of Formica picea Leach, 1825: 292 (now in Camponotus).]: Bolton, 1995b: 192. Valid species, not synonymous with picea Nylander: Seifert, 2004: 35. Current subspecies: nominal plus formosae.



Seifert (2004): Mean size smaller than Serviformica average: CS 1.240 mm. Head and scape shorter than in the next related species, i.e. F. picea, F. gagatoides and F. kozlovi: CL / CW1.4 1.101, SL / CS1.4 1.010 (Tab. 2). Frontal triangle as shining as the adjacent surfaces. Cuticular surface of head, mesosoma and gaster, as result of strongly reduced pubescence and very weak microsculpture, very shining; a denser pubescence is usually developed only on propodeum and petiole. On dorsal surface of first gaster tergite, average distance of transverse microripples 7.7 µm (RipD) and of pubescence hairs 113 µm (PDG). Clypeus, procoxae, ventral parts of meso- and metacoxae and all ventral and dorsal gaster sclerites with quite numerous and very long erect setae. Seen in lateral profile, hind vertex with 3 - 7 and central vertex with 2 - 8 setae. Both sides of pronotum usually with 2 - 16 and of mesonotum with 1 - 9 long, erect setae. Propodeum and petiole scale only very occasionally with single short and weak setae. Flexor sides of both hind tibiae with a sum of 0 - 5 semierect to subdecumbent setae. Petiole scale variable, its dorsal margin in frontal view fully convex or with a straight or concave median part; scale in lateral view not very thick and with a tapering apex. An average colouration pattern is: head, mesosoma, coxae and gaster blackish brown; appendages lighter, mandibles light to dark reddish brown. Slightly lighter or darker specimens may occur.

For morphometric details of 117 worker specimens see Tab. 1

Smith (1878): Shining black; the mandibles, antennae, and legs ferruginous; the latter slightly fuscous above, as are also a few of the apical joints of the flagellum above. The head, the width of the thorax; the clypeus with a sharp central carina; the front area semiopaque; the mandibles stout, and with longitudinal punctures. The metathorax semiopaque, and with a fine cinereous pile, which also covers the squama, legs, and thorax on the sides and beneath. Abdomen oblong-ovate, very smooth and shining, and with a sprinkling of pale hairs at the apex; the extreme apex pale testaceous.


  • n = 6, 2n = 52 (Japan) (Imai, 1969) (as F. picea).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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