Formica pergandei

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Formica pergandei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. pergandei
Binomial name
Formica pergandei
Emery, 1893



Specimen Label


Formica pergandei is found in woods, woodland edges, semi-open or open areas near woodland edges, and prairies (Coovert 2005, Nemec et al. 2012). It nests under rotten logs or large branches or in soil. It is a slave-maker and starts its colonies in the nests of host species, including members of the F. fusca, F. pallidefulva, F. neogagates, F. microgyna, and F. rufa species groups, often in combination (Fisher and Cover 2007). Reproductives were found in a nest in August (Mackay and Mackay 2002).

At a Glance • Dulotic  

Photo Gallery

  • Formica pergandei is the most common slavemaker in central Wisconsin, using various hosts, including Formica podzolica as here. This picture was taken in the flower plantings of a garden nick-nack store. Note the male at the left. Ephraim, Door County, Wisconsin. Photo by James Trager.


The metanotal impression of this species is deep, the head is usually broader than long, the eyes of the majors fail to reach the sides of the head, and there are usually 1 - 4 hairs on the underside of the head. The hairs on the gaster are abundant, but are approximately as abundant (and of the same length) as the hairs on the pronotum. The length of the scape is less than or equal to the length of the head. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

In Wisconsin this species is recognized by the shiny sides of the head and pronotum, and by the relatively long, curved, and abundant dorsal pilosity.

Keys including this Species


Canada, Quebec. United States: northeastern US, west to North Dakota and south to New Mexico.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 51.166325° to 33.641658°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).

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.


In New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - Aspen forests, disturbed areas.


This species is a member of a group of Formica species that were formerly placed in the subgenus Raptiformica. All species are facultative slavemakers, i.e., species which usually or often have slaves but can get along without them. The colony-founding female forces her way into a small colony of another species of Formica, somehow gets rid of its queen and workers and appropriates its nest and brood. The workers emerging from this brood accept the intruding queen as their own. The enslaved species belong to the Formica neogagates, F. fusca, and F. pallidefulva species groups. When the workers of the slave-making species have become numerous enough, they start raiding for more slaves.

This slave-maker enslaves colonies of Formica difficilis, Formica fusca, Formica pallidefulva and Formica podzolica, among others. For example, at one site in the prairies of Missouri, a F. pergandei nest contained a mélange of six slave species including (in order of decreasing relative abundance) Formica pallidefulva, Formica subsericea, Formica biophilica, Formica dolosa, Formica incerta and Formica obscuriventris, certainly the most species-rich, naturally occurring ant colony on record (Trager et al., 2007)!

While F. pergandei is the most common slavemaker in central Wisconsin, Formica subintegra is more common than F. pergandei in western Pennsylvania, at least in highly-managed open woodland habitats (mown lawns and gardens).

Slave Making

Formica pergandei is known to enslave the following species:

Association with Other Organisms

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  • This species is a host for the braconid wasp Elasmosoma petulans (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).



Images from AntWeb

Formica pergandei casent0104871 head 1.jpgFormica pergandei casent0104871 profile 1.jpgFormica pergandei casent0104871 dorsal 1.jpgFormica pergandei casent0104871 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0104871. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


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

  • pergandei. Formica pergandei Emery, 1893i: 646, pl. 22, fig. 1 (w.) U.S.A. Combination in F. (Raptiformica): Emery, 1925b: 259. Junior synonym of subintegra: Wilson & Brown, 1955: 120. Revived from synonymy and senior synonym of sublucida: Buren, 1968a: 28. See also: Snelling, R.R. & Buren, 1985: 72.
  • sublucida. Formica sublucida Creighton, 1950a: 472 (w.q.) U.S.A. [First available use of Formica sanguinea subsp. rubicunda var. sublucida Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 408; unavailable name.] Junior synonym of subintegra: Wilson & Brown, 1955: 120; of pergandei: Buren, 1968a: 28.



  • n = 26 (Crozier, 1975).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Allred D. M. 1982. Ants of Utah. The Great Basin Naturalist 42: 415-511.
  • Allred, D.M. 1982. The ants of Utah. Great Basin Naturalist 42:415-511.
  • Buren W. F. 1968. Some fundamental taxonomic problems in Formica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Georgia Entomol. Soc. 3: 25-40
  • Coovert G. A. 2005. The Ants of Ohio (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ohio Biological Survey, Inc. 15(2): 1-207.
  • Coovert, G.A. 2005. The Ants of Ohio (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Ohio Biological Survey Bulletin New Series Volume 15(2):1-196
  • Dubois, M.B. and W.E. Laberge. 1988. An Annotated list of the ants of Illionois. pages 133-156 in Advances in Myrmecology, J. Trager
  • Ellison A. M., and E. J. Farnsworth. 2014. Targeted sampling increases knowledge and improves estimates of ant species richness in Rhode Island. Northeastern Naturalist 21(1): NENHC-13–NENHC-24.
  • Glasier J. R. N., S. Nielsen, J. H. Acorn, L. H. Borysenko, and T. Radtke. 2016. A checklist of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Saskatchewan. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 130(1): 40-48.
  • Gregg R. E. 1946. The ants of northeastern Minnesota. American Midland Naturalist 35: 747-755.
  • Gregg, R.T. 1963. The Ants of Colorado.
  • Ivanov, K. 2019. The ants of Ohio (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): an updated checklist. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 70: 65–87.
  • Ivanov K., L. Hightower, S. T. Dash, and J. B. Keiper. 2019. 150 years in the making: first comprehensive list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Virginia, USA. Zootaxa 4554 (2): 532–560.
  • Jeanne R. J. 1979. A latitudinal gradient in rates of ant predation. Ecology 60(6): 1211-1224.
  • Lynch J. F. 1988. An annotated checklist and key to the species of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Chesapeake Bay region. The Maryland Naturalist 31: 61-106
  • MacKay W. P. 1993. Succession of ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on low-level nuclear waste sites in northern New Mexico. Sociobiology 23: 1-11.
  • Mackay W. P., and E. E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 400 pp.
  • Mackay, W., D. Lowrie, A. Fisher, E. Mackay, F. Barnes and D. Lowrie. 1988. The ants of Los Alamos County, New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). pages 79-131 in J.C. Trager, editor, Advances in Myrmecololgy.
  • Nemec K. T., J. C. Trager, E. Manley, and C. R. Allen. Five new records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae0 from Nebraska. The Prairie Naturalist 44(10: 63-65.
  • Ouellette G. D. and A. Francoeur. 2012. Formicidae [Hymenoptera] diversity from the Lower Kennebec Valley Region of Maine. Journal of the Acadian Entomological Society 8: 48-51
  • Talbot M. 1976. A list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Edwin S. George Reserve, Livingston County, Michigan. Great Lakes Entomologist 8: 245-246.
  • Wheeler G. C., J. N. Wheeler, and P. B. Kannowski. 1994. Checklist of the ants of Michigan (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The Great Lakes Entomologist 26(4): 297-310
  • Wheeler, G.C., J. Wheeler and P.B. Kannowski. 1994. CHECKLIST OF THE ANTS OF MICHIGAN (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE). Great Lakes Entomologist 26:1:297-310
  • Wheeler, G.C., J. Wheeler, T.D. Galloway and G.L. Ayre. 1989. A list of the ants of Manitoba. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Manitoba 45:34-49