Formica truncorum

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Formica truncorum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. truncorum
Binomial name
Formica truncorum
Fabricius, 1804

Formica truncorum casent0173144 profile 1.jpg

Formica truncorum casent0173144 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

At a Glance • Polygynous  


Photo Gallery

  • Formica truncorum workers feeding. Photo by Michal Kukla[1].
  • Formica truncorum workers exchanging liquid food (trophallaxis). Photo by Michal Kukla[2].


Large workers with head, alitrunk and base of first gaster tergite bright yellowish red, gaster greyish brown covered with long pubescence; smaller workers are usually darker but never with clearly marked black patches as in Formica pratensis. Eyes, occiput, genae, gula, scapes and tibiae as well as whole body covered in short erect hairs. Frons with large shallow punctures; frontal triangle shining without punctures or sculpture. Funiculus in larger workers slender with segments two and three twice as long as wide. Lateral clypeal pits deep and rounded. Length: 3.5-9.0 mm (Collingwood 1979).

Keys including this Species


Jura Alps to North Japan, Italy to North Norway (Collingwood 1979).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: India.
Palaearctic Region: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, China (type locality), Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Denmark, Estonia, Finland (type locality), Germany (type locality), Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation (type locality), Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland (type locality), Turkey, Ukraine.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Collingwood (1979) - This species has large spreading colonies among stones or in tree stumps with loose surface leaf litter sometimes built into a shallow loose mound. This is an aggressive acid squirting species found at the borders of woodland and in stony banks and often particularly abundant on offshore islands. F. truncorum is normally polygynous, sometimes with many small dark headed queens. New colonies may be formed by nest splitting or by the adoption of single large red headed queens by Formica fusca and allied species. Males and queens occur in July and August, latter than with most members of the F. rufa group.

Nesting Habits

Rybnikova and Kuznetsov (2015) studied nest complexes of wood ants in the Darwin Nature Reserve (Rybinsk Reservoir basin, Vologda and Yaroslavl Provinces, Russia). Their work assessed, in part, how wild boars and seasonal flooding may influence the survival and viability of wood ant colonies.

Silon Island is a tall ridge of glacial origin. The ant communities of the island were studied in the late 1990s (Rybnikova and Kuznetsov, 1998). The greatest part of the island is occupied by a lichen pine forest which provides little food for red wood ants; therefore, foraging mostly takes place in the riparian zone.

The complex of Silon Island—North. A complex of F. truncorum exists in the northern part of the island. In 1997–1998 it comprised 7–8 living nests and 12–15 foraging ones. The living nests of this species concentrated around the inner drainless depression filled with snowmelt water, with hydrophilic vegetation on its periphery. During the low-water periods, when the exposed inundation zone of the reservoir was overgrown with riparian vegetation, the ants built small foraging nests in the shoreline part of the island, at the edge of the precipice. As many as 15 such nests were present on the shore in some years. The foragers traveled down the precipice into the inundation zone, where aphid colonies developed on the riparian and periaquatic vegetation. After the long sequence of high-water years, four living nests remained on the shore, in the willow shrubs at the edge of the inundation zone. Five more living nests remained on the shores of the inner drainless depression. The mean nest size increased due to the disappearance of more than half of the small, mostly foraging nests. Every year, nests of this complex are destroyed by the bear which migrates to the island in the second half of summer. In some years, occasional wild boars also visit the island.

This species is a host for the ant Formicoxenus nitidulus (a xenobiont) (Holldobler & Wilson 1990; Busch 2001; Martin et al. 2007).


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



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

  • truncorum. Formica truncorum Fabricius, 1804: 403 (q.) CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Subspecies of rufa: Emery & Forel, 1879: 450; Santschi, 1925g: 351; Karavaiev, 1936: 247. Status as species: Bondroit, 1917a: 174; Stitz, 1939: 344; Novak & Sadil, 1941: 105; Holgersen, 1942: 13; Dlussky, 1967a: 81; Tarbinsky, 1976: 192; Kutter, 1977c: 274; Gösswald, 1989: 21; Kupyanskaya, 1990: 192; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 270. Senior synonym of truncicola: Roger, 1863b: 13; Bondroit, 1918: 60; Dlussky, 1967a: 81; Radchenko, 2007: 36; of truncicolopratensis: Dlussky, 1967a: 81; Bernard, 1967: 307; of menozzii, rufotruncicola, staegeri and material of the unavailable name stitzi referred here: Dlussky, 1967a: 81. Current subspecies: nominal plus finzii, frontalis.
  • truncicola. Formica truncicola Nylander, 1846a: 907 (w.q.) FINLAND. Nylander, 1849: 29 (m.). Subspecies of rufa: Forel, 1874: 52; André, 1903: 128; Ruzsky, 1905b: 330; Wheeler, W.M. 1908g: 406; Emery, 1909b: 187; Forel, 1915d: 57; Emery, 1916b: 256; Santschi, 1925f: 96. Status as species: Bingham, 1903: 334; Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 434. Senior synonym of simulata: Forel, 1894c: 403. Junior synonym of truncorum: Roger, 1863b: 13; Bondroit, 1918: 60; Emery, 1925b: 255; Bernard, 1967: 307; Dlussky, 1967a: 81; Dlussky & Pisarski, 1971: 174; Tarbinsky, 1976: 192; Kutter, 1977c: 274; Radchenko, 2007: 36.
  • truncicolopratensis. Formica rufa var. truncicolopratensis Forel, 1874: 53 (w.q.m.) SWITZERLAND. Subspecies of pratensis: Dalla Torre, 1893: 205; of rufa: Karavaiev, 1912b: 589; of truncorum: Stitz, 1939: 346; Holgersen, 1942: 14. Raised to species: Bondroit, 1918: 61. Junior synonym of truncorum: Bernard, 1967: 307; Dlussky, 1967a: 81; Dlussky & Pisarski, 1971: 174.
  • simulata. Formica simulata Smith, F. 1878b: 10 (w.) CHINA. Junior synonym of truncicola: Forel, 1894c: 403.
  • rufotruncicola. Formica rufa var. rufotruncicola Ruzsky, 1896: 68 (w.) RUSSIA. [First available use of Formica rufa subsp. pratensis form. rufotruncicola Ruzsky, 1895: 11; unavailable name.] Junior synonym of truncorum: Dlussky, 1967a: 81.
  • menozzii. Formica truncorum var. menozzii Stitz, 1939: 347 (w.) GERMANY. [First available use of Formica rufa subsp. truncicola var. menozzii Krausse, 1926c: 336; unavailable name. Note: truncicola is misspelled aruncicola in this paper.] Junior synonym of truncorum: Dlussky, 1967a: 81.
  • staegeri. Formica truncorum var. staegeri Stitz, 1939: 347 (w.) GERMANY. [First available use of Formica rufa subsp. truncicola ab. staegeri Krausse, 1926d: 264; unavailable name.] Subspecies of truncorum: Betrem, 1960b: 76. Junior synonym of truncorum: Dlussky, 1967a: 81; Dlussky & Pisarski, 1971: 174.



  • n = 28 (Finland) (Rosengren et al., 1980) (Only one pupa analyzed was n=27).
  • n = 26, 2n = 52 (Finland; Japan; Switzerland) (Imai & Yosida, 1964; Imai, 1969; Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1976; Rosengren et al., 1980).


  • Atanassov, N.; Dlussky, G. M. 1992. Fauna of Bulgaria. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Fauna Bûlg. 22: 1-310 (page 270, Status as species)
  • Bernard, F. 1967a [1968]. Faune de l'Europe et du Bassin Méditerranéen. 3. Les fourmis (Hymenoptera Formicidae) d'Europe occidentale et septentrionale. Paris: Masson, 411 pp. (page 307, Senior synonym of truncicolopratensis)
  • Bondroit, J. 1917a. Notes sur quelques Formicidae de France (Hym.). Bull. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 1917: 174-177 (page 174, Status as species)
  • Bondroit, J. 1918. Les fourmis de France et de Belgique. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 87: 1-174 (page 60, Senior synonym of truncicola)
  • Collingwood, C. A. 1979. The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomol. Scand. 8:1-174.
  • Dlussky, G. M. 1967a. Ants of the genus Formica (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, g. Formica). Moskva: Nauka Publishing House, 236 pp. (page 81, Status as species, Senior synonym of truncicola, Senior synonym of truncicolopratensis, Senior synonym of menozzii, rufotruncicola, staegeri, stitzi)
  • Emery, C.; Forel, A. 1879. Catalogue des Formicides d'Europe. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 5: 441-481 (page 450, Subspecies/race of rufa)
  • 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).
  • Fabricius, J. C. 1804. Systema Piezatorum secundum ordines, genera, species, adjectis synonymis, locis, observationibus, descriptionibus. Brunswick: C. Reichard, xiv + 15-439 + 30 pp. (page 403, queen described)
  • Gösswald, K. 1989. Die Waldameise. Band 1. Biologische Grundlagen, Ökologie und Verhalten. Wiesbaden: AULA-Verlag, xi + 660 pp. (page 21, Status as species)
  • Holgersen, H. 1942b. Ants of northern Norway (Hym., Form.). Tromso Mus. Årsh. 63(2 2: 1-34 (page 13, Status as species)
  • Karavaiev, V. 1936. The fauna of the family Formicidae (ants) of the Ukraine. Part II (conclusion). Tr. Inst. Zool. Biol. Ukr. Akad. Nauk Ser. 1 Pr. Syst. Faun. 1936: 161-316 (page 247, Subspecies/race of rufa)
  • Kupyanskaya, A. N. 1990a. Ants of the Far Eastern USSR. Vladivostok: Akademiya Nauk SSSR, 258 pp. (page 192, Status as species)
  • Kutter, H. 1977c. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Insecta Helv. Fauna 6: 1-298 (page 274, Status as species)
  • Novák, V.; Sadil, J. 1941. Klíc k urcování mravencu strední Evropy se zvlástním zretelem k mravencí zvírene Cech a Moravy. Entomol. Listy 4: 65-115 (page 1941, Status as species)
  • Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 13, Senior synonym of truncicola)
  • Rybnikova, I. A. and A. V. Kuznetsov. 2015. Complexes of Formica s. str. nests in the Darwin Nature Reserve and causes of their degradation. Entomological Review. 95:947-952. doi:10.1134/s0013873815080023
  • Santschi, F. 1925g. Fourmis d'Espagne et autres espèces paléarctiques (Hymenopt.). EOS. Rev. Esp. Entomol. 1: 339-360 (page 351, Subspecies/race of rufa)
  • Stitz, H. 1939. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands und der angrenzenden Meersteile nach ihren Merkmalen und nach ihrer Lebensweise. 37. Theil. Hautflüger oder Hymenoptera. I: Ameisen oder Formicidae. Jena: G. Fischer, 428 pp. (page 344, Status as species)
  • Tarbinsky, Y. S. 1976. The ants of Kirghizia. Frunze: Ilim, 217 pp. (page 192, Status as species)