Myrmica lobicornis

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Myrmica lobicornis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Myrmica
Species: M. lobicornis
Binomial name
Myrmica lobicornis
Nylander, 1846

Myrmica lobicornis casent0172718 profile 1.jpg

Myrmica lobicornis casent0172718 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


A widespread species that forms small colonies of 200-300 workers.

At a Glance • Polygynous  



A member of the lobicornis complex of the lobicornis species group. Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - In Europe the main characters used to separate its species from the schencki-group species are the shape and size of the lobes on the bend of the antennal scape, combined with the relative frons width (FI). However, in Europe these features can be very variable between local populations and can overlap those of schencki-group species.

Collingwood (1979) - Bicoloured reddish brown with head and gaster characteristically darker. Upright tooth-like process at the bend of the antennal scape, frequently very large in Scandinavian samples but very variable in size over its whole geographic range. Frons about 1/3 head width. Petiole high with anterior and dorsal surfaces meeting at a right angle. Postpetiole broadly oval from above. Head Index: 87.8; Frons Index: 30.8; Frontal Laminae Index: 65.5. Length: 4.0-5.0 mm.

Keys including this Species


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - Boreo-montain species. North Europe, northern part of Central Europe, British Isles, mountains of Central and Southern Europe (in Iberian Peninsula is absent), Forest Zone of East Europe, Caucasus, West Siberia and NE Kazakhstan (to the south till Saur Range), East Siberia (to the east till Transbaikalia), Mongolia. Records for Russian Far East and China (Eidmann 1941; Kupyanskaya 1985; Wei C. et al. 2001) almost certainly belong to other species.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland (type locality), France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - Despite being an "old" and well-known species in Europe, the ecology of M. lobicornis has not been well studied. It has been used as a model species in chemical studies of glandular secretions in a team led by Prof. David Morgan, its role as a host for Phengaris butterflies has been investigated recently, and Prof. Vladilen Kipyatkov has made some observations on physiological response to seasonality. The most probable reason for this is that over most of its entire distribution this species is common in the sense that one can occasionally find the odd colony living in more or less any biotope, but unlike most other widely distributed Myrmica species it almost never dominates any particular habitat-type anywhere in its range and in this sense can be considered rare. It is more common in boreal habitats and we found it to be relatively abundant in some pine forests of northern Finland. In most northern habitats, the narrow-frons form (M. lobicornis “S. str.”) tends to be a quite cryptic-foraging species; in subarctic conditions we have observed quite small individuals foraging on the soil surface under the moss layer that might initially be mistaken for Leptothorax species. Even in southern England it is quite hard to observe foraging workers.

Generally colonies are small (< 200 workers) with at most 2 queens, however in Central Lapland, Finland we found one very large colony (probably> 2,000 workers) that had made a large earth solarium in grass on the bank of a small stream in a forest, but we could find no queens in this nest. Its greater abundance in Finland led to the only genetical study of M. lobicornis (Seppa 1994), who showed that on one study site in Finland most colonies averaged about 300 workers but rarely exceyd 500 workers and were monogynous (or queenless), on average queens live about two years and regular replacement of queens by queenless colonies was inferred.

In Finland M. lobicornis is not usually found in dense old forest, Myrmica ruginodis is usually the only Myrmica species found in such (> 100 years) forest (Punttila et al. 1991). M. lobicornis and the other two common forest Myrmica species, Myrmica scabrinodis and Myrmica sulcinodis, are found in regenerating forest but none of these can be considered as primary colonising species like M. ruginodis, nests of which persist after clear felling and rapidly expand into the new habitat. Nests of M. lobicornis and the other two species must be established by queens flying into the felled areas. Punttila et al. (1991) showed that this occured sometime after two years and that by 110 years after forest clearance the population of M. lobicornis was well established, though individual workers were much less abundant than those of the other three species. Numbers decline as the new forest closes over but it is not known how long M. lobicornis colonies persist in mature forest in Finland. In the much warmer ancient mixed (mostly pine and some deciduous) woodland near Kiev, Ukraine we have observed colonies of up to seven Myrmica species, including M. lobicornis. However the dominant species are Myrmica rubra and M. ruginodis and the other Myrmica species are relatively rare.

In the glades of the Tatry mountains of southern Poland M. lobicornis were present at only 7 of 23 studied sites compared with 20 and 13 sites for M. ruginodis and M. scabrinodis respectively; when present, nests of M. lobicornis averaged 13% of the population of all ant nests compared to 52% and 19% respectively for the other species (Woyciechowski, 1990c). On the meadows on the southern slopes of a mountain in the Beskid range of southern Poland, M. lobicornis nests comprised only 6% of the population of ant nests despite being the third most abundant species after M. scabrinodis (30%) and Lasius flavus F. (57%) (Woyciechowski and Miszta 1976). Nuptial flights have been observed from the end of July to mid September, and M. lobicornis males often join swarms dominated by other Myrmica species.

Collingwood (1979) - It is a mountain species in Central and S. Europe but in the north occurs equally on lowland heath and in open woodland. Although widely distributed it is not abundant and occurs in isolated single queen colonies nesting in peat or under stones. It is commonly found as single foraging workers and is one of the least aggressive members of the genus.

This species is a host for the ant Myrmica myrmicoxena (a workerless inquiline).





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

  • lobicornis. Myrmica lobicornis Nylander, 1846a: 932, pl. 18, figs, 32, 33 (w.q.) FINLAND. Nylander, 1849: 31 (m.); Hauschteck, 1965: 325 (k.). Subspecies of rubra: Forel, 1874: 76; Emery & Forel, 1879: 463; Wheeler, W.M. 1906c: 316; of scabrinodis: Mayr, 1886d: 451; Ruzsky, 1905b: 693; Emery, 1908a: 179. Status as species: Saunders, E. 1880: 216; André, 1883a: 318; Nasonov, 1889: 35; Forel, 1892i: 315; Donisthorpe, 1915d: 134; Forel, 1915d: 28; Emery, 1916b: 120; Bondroit, 1918: 105; Finzi, 1926: 106; Stärcke, 1927: 76; Santschi, 1931b: 347; Collingwood, 1958b: 73; Bernard, 1967: 122; Kutter, 1977c: 66; Arnol'di & Dlussky, 1978: 534; Collingwood, 1979: 51; Seifert, 1988b: 38; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 101. Senior synonym of alpestris, angustifrons: Seifert, 1988b: 38; of arduennae: Donisthorpe, 1915d: 134; Bernard, 1967: 122; Boven, 1977: 119; Seifert, 1988b: 38; of burtshakabramovitshi: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1842; of denticornis: Mayr, 1861: 63; Seifert, 1988b: 38; of foreli: Bernard, 1967: 122; Seifert, 1988b: 38; of kieviensis: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1842; of lissahorensis: Bernard, 1967: 122; Seifert, 1988b: 38; of starki: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1842; Seifert, 1988b: 38; of brunescens: Radchenko, 1994g: 87. Material of the nomen nudum nodicornis referred here by Donisthorpe, 1915d: 134. See also: Radchenko, 2007: 29; Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 185.
  • denticornis. Myrmica denticornis Curtis, 1854: 215, figs. 18, 19 (w.m.) GREAT BRITAIN. Smith, F. 1855b: 121 (q.). Junior synonym of lobicornis: Mayr, 1861: 63.
  • arduennae. Myrmica lobicornis var. arduennae Bondroit, 1911: 12 (w.q.m.) BELGIUM. Raised to species: Bondroit, 1918: 105. Subspecies of lobicornis: Emery, 1921f: 38; Menozzi, 1925d: 24; Finzi, 1926: 108; Sadil, 1952: 263. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Donisthorpe, 1915d: 134; Bernard, 1967: 122; Boven, 1977: 119; Seifert, 1988b: 38.
  • angustifrons. Myrmica lobicornis subsp. angustifrons Stärcke, 1927: 81, figs. 1, 3 (w.q.) GREAT BRITAIN. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Seifert, 1988b: 38.
  • brunescens. Myrmica (Myrmica) schencki var. brunescens Karavaiev, 1929b: 208 (w.) RUSSIA (North Caucasus). Subspecies of lobicornis: Santschi, 1931b: 350; Arnol'di, 1934: 167. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Radchenko, 1994g: 87.
  • burtshakabramovitshi. Myrmica (Myrmica) schencki var. burtshakabramovitshi Karavaiev, 1929b: 209, fig. 4 (w.) UKRAINE. Subspecies of lobicornis: Santschi, 1931b: 351; Arnol'di, 1934: 167; Karavaiev, 1934: 92. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1842.
  • starki. Myrmica (Myrmica) schencki var. starki Karavaiev, 1929b: 208 (w.) RUSSIA. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1842. See also: Karavaiev, 1931b: 29.
  • foreli. Myrmica lobicornis st. foreli Santschi, 1931b: 348, fig. 6 (w.q.) AUSTRIA. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Bernard, 1967: 122; Seifert, 1988b: 38.
  • alpestris. Myrmica lobicornis subsp. alpestris Arnol'di, 1934: 168, figs. 23-25 (w.m.) ARMENIA. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Seifert, 1988b: 38.
  • kieviensis. Myrmica (Myrmica) lobicornis var. kieviensis Karavaiev, 1934: 91, fig. 24 (w.) UKRAINE. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1842.
  • lissahorensis. Myrmica lobicornis subsp. lissahorensis Stitz, 1939: 100 (w.) CZECHIA. [First available use of Myrmica lobicornis subsp. lobicornis var. lissahorensis Stärcke, 1927: 79; unavailable name.] Subspecies of lobicornis: Weber, 1948a: 287. Junior synonym of lobicornis: Bernard, 1967: 122; Seifert, 1988b: 38.

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


Nylander 1846. Page 932
Nylander 1846. Page 933
Nylander 1846. Page 934


  • n = 24 (Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1983).


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - combination of Greek (lobos) = lobe [of ear] and Latin comis (adj) = horned or antlered: to describe the vertical lobe or projection on the bend of the scape.


  • André, E. 1883a. Les fourmis. [part]. Pp. 281-344 in: André, Edm. 1881-1886. Species des Hyménoptères d'Europe et d'Algérie. Tome Deuxième. Beaune: Edmond André, 919 + 48 pp. (page 318, Status as species)
  • Arnol'di, K. V. 1970b. Review of the ant genus Myrmica (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in the European part of the USSR. Zool. Zh. 4 49: 1829-1844 (page 1842, Senior synonym of burtshakabramovistschi, kieviensis, starki)
  • Arnol'di, K. V.; Dlussky, G. M. 1978. Superfam. Formicoidea. 1. Fam. Formicidae - ants. Pp. 519-556 in: Medvedev, G. S. (ed.) Keys to the insects of the European part of the USSR. Vol. 3. Hymenoptera. Part 1. Opredeliteli Faune SSSR 119:3-584. (page 534, Status as species)
  • Atanassov, N.; Dlussky, G. M. 1992. Fauna of Bulgaria. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Fauna Bûlg. 22: 1-310 (page 101, 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 122, Status as species; Senior synonym of alpina, foreli, lissahorensis and lobulicornis)
  • Bondroit, J. 1918. Les fourmis de France et de Belgique. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 87: 1-174 (page 105, Status as species)
  • Boven, J. K. A. van. 1977. De mierenfauna van België (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Acta Zool. Pathol. Antverp. 67: 1-191 (page 119, Senior synonym of arduennae)
  • Collingwood, C. A. 1958b. A key to the species of ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) found in Britain. Trans. Soc. Br. Entomol. 13: 69-96 (page 73, Status as species)
  • Collingwood, C. A. 1979. The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomol. Scand. 8: 1-174 (page 51, Status as species)
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1915f. British ants, their life-history and classification. Plymouth: Brendon & Son Ltd., xv + 379 pp. (page 134, Status as species, Senior synonym of arduennae; Material of the nomen nudum nodicornis referred here)
  • Emery, C. 1908a. Beiträge zur Monographie der Formiciden des paläarktischen Faunengebietes. Dtsch. Entomol. Z. 1908: 165-205 (page 179, Variety/subspecies of scabrinodis)
  • Emery, C. 1916a [1915]. Fauna entomologica italiana. I. Hymenoptera.-Formicidae. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 47: 79-275 (page 120, Status as species)
  • Emery, C.; Forel, A. 1879. Catalogue des Formicides d'Europe. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 5: 441-481 (page 463, Variety/subspecies of rubra)
  • Finzi, B. 1926. Le forme europee del genere Myrmica Latr. Primo contributo. Boll. Soc. Adriat. Sci. Nat. Trieste 29: 71-119 (page 106, Status as species)
  • Forel, A. 1874. Les fourmis de la Suisse. Systématique, notices anatomiques et physiologiques, architecture, distribution géographique, nouvelles expériences et observations de moeurs. Neue Denkschr. Allg. Schweiz. Ges. Gesammten Naturwiss. 26: 1-452 (page 76, Variety/subspecies of rubra)
  • Forel, A. 1892j. Die Ameisenfauna Bulgariens. (Nebst biologischen Beobachtungen.). Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 42: 305-318 (page 315, Status as species)
  • Forel, A. 1915d. Fauna insectorum helvetiae. Hymenoptera. Formicidae. Die Ameisen der Schweiz. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 12(B Beilage: 1-77 (page 28, Status as species)
  • Hauschteck, E. 1965. Halbe haploide Chromosomenzahl im Hoden von Myrmica sulcinodis Nyl. (Formicidae). Experientia (Basel) 21: 323-325 (page 325, karyotype described)
  • Kutter, H. 1977c. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Insecta Helv. Fauna 6: 1-298 (page 66, Status as species)
  • Lyu, D.-P. 2006. Review of the genus Myrmica in Korea (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology 9: 189-202.
  • Mayr, G. 1861. Die europäischen Formiciden. Nach der analytischen Methode bearbeitet. Wien: C. Gerolds Sohn, 80 pp. (page 63, Senior synonym of denticornis)
  • Mayr, G. 1886d. Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 36: 419-464 (page 451, Variety/subspecies of scabrinodis)
  • Nasonov, N. V. 1889. Contribution to the natural history of the ants primarily of Russia. 1. Contribution to the ant fauna of Russia. Izv. Imp. Obshch. Lyubit. Estestvozn. Antropol. Etnogr. Imp. Mosk. Univ. 58: 1-78 (page 35, Status as species)
  • Nylander, W. 1846a. Adnotationes in monographiam formicarum borealium Europae. Acta Societatis Scientiarum Fennicae. 2:875-944. (page 932, pl.18, figs. 32, 33 worker, queen described)
  • Nylander, W. 1849 [1848]. Additamentum alterum adnotationum in monographiam formicarum borealium. Acta Soc. Sci. Fenn. 3: 25-48 (page 31, male described)
  • Ruzsky, M. 1905b. The ants of Russia. (Formicariae Imperii Rossici). Systematics, geography and data on the biology of Russian ants. Part I. Tr. Obshch. Estestvoispyt. Imp. Kazan. Univ. 38(4-6 6: 1-800 (page 693, Variety/subspecies of scabrinodis)
  • Santschi, F. 1931c. Notes sur le genre Myrmica (Latreille). Rev. Suisse Zool. 38: 335-355 (page 347, Status as species)
  • Saunders, E. 1883. Notes on British ants. Entomol. Mon. Mag. 20: 16-17 (page 216, Status as species)
  • Seifert, B. 1988b. A taxonomic revision of the Myrmica species of Europe, Asia Minor, and Caucasia (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Abh. Ber. Naturkundemus. Görlitz 62(3): 1-75 (page 38, Status as species, Senior synonym of alpestris, alpina, angustifrons, apennina, arduennae, denticornis, foreli, lissahorensis, lobulicornis, obscura, pyrenaea, and starki)
  • Seifert, B. 2005. Rank elevation in two European ant species: Myrmica lobulicornis Nylander, 1857, stat. n. and Myrmica spinosior Santschi, 1931, stat. n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecol. Nachr. 7: 1-7 (page 6, senior synonym of arduenne var. pyernaea, lobicornis st. foreli, lobicornis alpina, angustifrons, appenina, arduennae, lissahorensis, foreli)
  • Stärcke, A. 1927. Beginnende Divergenz bei Myrmica lobicornis Nyl. Tijdschr. Entomol. 70: 73-84 (page 76, Status as species)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1906h. The ants of Japan. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 22: 301-328 (page 316, Variety/subspecies of rubra)