Formica puberula

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

Formica puberula casent0005396 profile 1.jpg

Formica puberula casent0005396 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

This species nests under stones and logs. It enslaves Formica altipetens, Formica bradleyi, Formica densiventris, Formica fusca, Formica hewitti, Formica lasioides, Formica lepida, Formica montana, Formica neoclara, Formica neorufibarbis, Formica nitidiventris (=Formica pallidefulva) and Formica subpolita. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)


The scape of this species has appressed to suberect, relatively coarse hairs, giving it a slight bristly appearance. The underside of the head has at least a pair of hairs. The erect hairs on the gaster are about 0.1 mm long, and are of about the same form and density as those on the pronotum. Most hairs have sharp tips. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)


Western North America.

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


In New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - Sagebrush scrub and grasslands through mixed forests into ponderosa pine and aspen forests. This species also occurs in urban habitats.


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, fusca, and pallidefulva species groups. When the workers of the slave-making species have become numerous enough, they start raiding for more slaves.

Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - We have 11 records from 6 localities widely scattered north of the Hot Desert; 4,500-8,200 ft. Seven records are from the Coniferous Forest Biome, usually at the edge of mountain meadows; 2 are from disturbed habitats. We have descriptions of 2 nests: (1) under 2 stones 13 cm apart; (2) surmounted by a pile of excavated soil 22 x 28 cm around the base of an aspen tree, with the entrance near the trunk. We found Formica lasioides as slaves in 2 nests and Formica subsericea in 1.


This species is a host for the fungus Laboulbenia formicarum (a pathogen) (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).



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

  • puberula. Formica sanguinea subsp. puberula Emery, 1893i: 648 (w.) U.S.A. Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 413 (q.m.). Combination in F. (Raptiformica): Emery, 1925b: 260. Raised to species: Creighton, 1950a: 468. Junior synonym of subintegra: Wilson & Brown, 1955: 120. Revived from synonymy: Buren, 1968a: 30.



  • Buren, W. F. 1968a. Some fundamental taxonomic problems in Formica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Ga. Entomol. Soc. 3: 25-40 (page 30, revived from synonymy)
  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 468, raised to species)
  • Emery, C. 1893k. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 7: 633-682 (page 648, worker described)
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 260, Combination in F. (Raptiformica))
  • Espadaler, X., Santamaria, S. 2012. Ecto- and Endoparasitic Fungi on Ants from the Holarctic Region. Psyche Article ID 168478, 10 pages (doi:10.1155/2012/168478).
  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1913i. A revision of the ants of the genus Formica (Linné) Mayr. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 53: 379-565 (page 413, queen, male described)
  • Wilson, E. O.; Brown, W. L., Jr. 1955. Revisionary notes on the sanguinea and neogagates groups of the ant genus Formica. Psyche (Camb.) 62: 108-129 (page 120, Junior synonym of subintegra)