Formica foreliana

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

Formica foreliana casent0064830 profile 1.jpg

Formica foreliana casent0064830 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Very little is known about the biology of Formica foreliana.


At first sight the species closely resembles a small Formica rubicunda, especially in the shape of the thorax and petiole and in pilosity, but it differs in having the anterior border of the clypeus projecting and entire, and in the much longer maxillary palpi, much more slender antennae, and the coloration of the head and thorax. (Wheeler 1913)

Abundant (24 - 43 on first tergum, exclusive of row along posterior edge of tergum) long, flexuous, erect hairs on the gaster. It is bicolored, with the head and mesosoma mostly red, the gaster is black. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 34.156971° to 29.91861111°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

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.


Areas between 1370 and 1760 meters elevation (Francoeur, 1973).


This species is a host for the ant Polyergus topoffi (a slave maker) (Trager, 2013).



Images from AntWeb

Formica foreliana casent0104685 head 1.jpgFormica foreliana casent0104685 profile 1.jpgFormica foreliana casent0104685 dorsal 1.jpgFormica foreliana casent0104685 label 1.jpg
Paratype of Formica forelianaWorker. Specimen code casent0104685. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by AMNH, New York, NY, USA.


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

  • foreliana. Formica foreliana Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 451 (w.) U.S.A. Francoeur, 1973: 235 (q.m.). Junior synonym of gnava: Creighton, 1950a: 539. Revived from synonymy: Francoeur, 1973: 235.

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



Francoeur 1973. Figures 409-424.

Length 4-6 mm.

Mandibles 8-toothed. Head, excluding the mandibles, a little longer than broad, a little narrower in front than behind, with straight posterior and feebly convex lateral borders. Clypeus strongly carinate throughout its length, with broadly rounded, projecting anterior border. Frontal carinae very slightly diverging behind, nearly parallel. Antennae long and slender, joints 2-4 of the funiculus longer and more slender than joints 8-10. Maxillary palpi very long, decidedly longer than in any of the preceding species of the rufa group. Thorax rather long, the pro- and mesonotum not very convex, the mesoepinotal constriction rather shallow, the epinotum with sub equal base and declivity, both straight in profile and meeting at a pronounced angle. Petiole rather narrow, cuneate in profile, with feebly convex anterior and more flattened posterior surface, blunt lateral and rather sharp, rounded, superior margin which is either entire or very feebly notched in the middle. Legs moderately long and slender.

Body including frontal area opaque, very finely shagreened; maudibles somewhat coarsely striatopunctate.

Hairs golden yellow, long, slender, erect, sparse; present only on the mandibles, clypeus, front, vertex, pronotum, gaster, fore coxae, and in a single row on the flexor surface of the femora, tibiae, and tarsi. On the gaster the hairs, very conspicuous in certain lights, are present in three or four rows on each of the segments. Pubescence grayish, very fine, dense on the gaster, somewhat sparser on the head, thorax, scapes, and legs.

Brownish red; front, upper surface of thorax, petiole, and femora, especially the hind pair, darker or infuscated; gaster black.

Type Material

Syntype Specimen Labels

Described from several specimens taken from two colonies at altitudes of 4,500 and 5,600 ft. in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona, by Mr. C. R. Biedermann.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Cole A. C., Jr. 1942. The ants of Utah. American Midland Naturalist 28: 358-388.
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Eastlake Chew A. and Chew R. M. 1980. Body size as a determinant of small-scale distributions of ants in evergreen woodland southeastern Arizona. Insectes Sociaux 27: 189-202
  • Francoeur. A. 1973. Revision taxonomique des especes nearctiques du group fusca, genre Formica. Memoires de la Societe Entomologique du Quebec 3: 1-316.
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • Mackay W. P. and Mackay, E. E. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 400 pp.
  • Rees D. M., and A. W. Grundmann. 1940. A preliminary list of the ants of Utah. Bulletin of the University of Utah, 31(5): 1-12.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1913. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 53: 379-565.