Formica moki

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Formica moki
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. moki
Binomial name
Formica moki
Wheeler, W.M., 1906

Formica moki casent0005369 profile 1.jpg

Formica moki casent0005369 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Usually nests under stones in open woods; sometimes under sidewalks or along the sides of buildings. May become a pest by foraging in houses or by tending aphids on cultivated plants. Fierce and aggressive.


Keys including this Species


Northwestern comer of Arizona, southern Nevada, California north to Oregon, and south to Mexico.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 42.81666667° to 19.27649°.

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.


Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - Our 8 records from 5 localities are all from the southern part of the state and all in the Pinyon-Juniper Biome. One nest was in the ends of a rotten log (8 cm in diameter) lying on the ground, 3 were under stones, and I was in the slightly decayed buried portion of a log 15 cm in diameter. We noted that the workers were fast and aggressive, that the bite was annoying and that a populous colony produced an invisible cloud of formic acid over a disturbed nest.

Association with Other Organisms

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Other Ants

Nests of this species occasionally host Temnothorax andrei, although the nature of the relationship is unknown (Mann, 1911).

This species is a host for the ant Polyergus vinosus (a slave maker) (Trager, 2013; de la Mora et al., 2021).

Flight Period

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




Mcz-ent00668575 Formica moki hef.jpgMcz-ent00668575 Formica moki hal.jpgMcz-ent00668575 Formica moki had.jpgMcz-ent00668575 Formica moki lbs.JPG
Worker. . Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.
Formica moki hef.jpgFormica moki hal 1-25.jpgFormica moki had.jpgFormica moki lbs.JPG
Worker. . Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Images from AntWeb

Formica moki casent0173015 head 1.jpgFormica moki casent0173015 profile 1.jpgFormica moki casent0173015 dorsal 1.jpgFormica moki casent0173015 label 1.jpg
Paratype of Formica mokiWorker. Specimen code casent0173015. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MCZ, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Formica moki casent0173016 head 1.jpgFormica moki casent0173016 profile 1.jpgFormica moki casent0173016 dorsal 1.jpgFormica moki casent0173016 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0173016. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MCZ, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Formica moki casent0173017 head 1.jpgFormica moki casent0173017 profile 1.jpgFormica moki casent0173017 dorsal 1.jpgFormica moki casent0173017 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0173017. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MCZ, Cambridge, MA, USA.


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

  • moki. Formica moki Wheeler, W.M. 1906d: 343 (w.) U.S.A. Cole, 1966: 25 (m.). Combination in F. (Neoformica): Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 558. Junior synonym of occidua: Francoeur, 1973: 254. [Note that moki has seniority over occidua and hence is the valid name; see Smith, D.R. 1979: 1453.] See also: Smith, M.R. 1939f: 582.
  • occidua. Formica rufibarbis var. occidua Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 517 (w.q.) U.S.A. [F. rufibarbis var. occidua Wheeler, W.M. 1912c: 90. Nomen nudum.] Subspecies of rufibarbis: Creighton, 1950a: 539. Raised to species and stated as senior synonym of moki: Francoeur, 1973: 254 [the latter has priority and hence is the valid name: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1453].

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


Francoeur 1973. Figures 459-465. F. occidua


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Boulton A. M., Davies K. F. and Ward P. S. 2005. Species richness, abundance, and composition of ground-dwelling ants in northern California grasslands: role of plants, soil, and grazing. Environmental Entomology 34: 96-104
  • Cole A. C., Jr. 1942. The ants of Utah. American Midland Naturalist 28: 358-388.
  • Cover S. P., and R. A. Johnson. 20011. Checklist of Arizona Ants. Downloaded on January 7th at
  • Dattilo W. et al. 2019. MEXICO ANTS: incidence and abundance along the Nearctic-Neotropical interface. Ecology
  • Des Lauriers J., and D. Ikeda. 2017. The ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California, USA with an annotated list. In: Reynolds R. E. (Ed.) Desert Studies Symposium. California State University Desert Studies Consortium, 342 pp. Pages 264-277.
  • Fisher B. L. 1997. A comparison of ant assemblages (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) on serpentine and non-serpentine soils in northern California. Insectes Sociaux 44: 23-33
  • Francoeur A., and R. R. Snelling. 1979. Notes for a revision of the ant genus Formica. 2. Reidentifications for some specimens from the T. W. Cook collection and new distribution data (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Contr. Sci. (Los Angel.) 309: 1-7.
  • Francoeur. A. 1973. Revision taxonomique des especes nearctiques du group fusca, genre Formica. Memoires de la Societe Entomologique du Quebec 3: 1-316.
  • Holway D.A. 1998. Effect of Argentine ant invasions on ground-dwelling arthropods in northern California riparian woodlands. Oecologia. 116: 252-258
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • Johnson, R.A. and P.S. Ward. 2002. Biogeography and endemism of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Baja California, Mexico: a first overview. Journal of Biogeography 29:1009–1026/
  • La Rivers I. 1968. A first listing of the ants of Nevada. Biological Society of Nevada, Occasional Papers 17: 1-12.
  • Longino, J.T. 2010. Personal Communication. Longino Collection Database
  • Mallis A. 1941. A list of the ants of California with notes on their habits and distribution. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 40: 61-100. 
  • Matsuda T., G. Turschak, C. Brehme, C. Rochester, M. Mitrovich, and R. Fisher. 2011. Effects of Large-Scale Wildfires on Ground Foraging Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Southern California. Environmental Entomology 40(2): 204-216.
  • Ratchford, J.S., S.E. Wittman, E.S. Jules, A.M. Ellison, N.J. Gotelli and N.J. Sanders. 2005. The effects of fire, local environment and time on ant assemblages in fens and forests. Diversity and Distributions 11:487-497.
  • Reddell J. R., and J. C. Cokendolpher. 2001. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from caves of Belize, Mexico, and California and Texas (U.S.A.) Texas. Texas Memorial Museum Speleological Monographs 5: 129-154.
  • Vásquez-Bolaños M. 2011. Lista de especies de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) para México. Dugesiana 18: 95-133
  • Ward P. S. 1987. Distribution of the introduced Argentine ant (Iridomyrmex humilis) in natural habitats of the lower Sacramento Valley and its effects on the indigenous ant fauna. Hilgardia 55: 1-16
  • Wetterer, J. K.; Ward, P. S.; Wetterer, A. L.; Longino, J. T.; Trager, J. C.; Miller, S. E. 2000. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Santa Cruz Island, California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 99:25-31.
  • Wetterer, J.K., P.S. Ward, A.L. Wetterer, J.T. Longino, J.C. Trager and S.E. Miller. 2000. Ants (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) of Santa Cruz Island, California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science 99(1):25-31.
  • Wheeler G. C., and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, vii + 138 pp.
  • 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.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1917. The mountain ants of western North America. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 52: 457-569.
  • Wittman S. E., N. J. Sanders, A. M. Ellison, E. S. Jules, J. S. Ratchford, and N. J. Gotelli. Forthcoming. Species interactions and thermal constraints on ant community structure. Oikos 119.