Myrmica specioides

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Myrmica specioides
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Myrmica
Species group: specioides
Species: M. specioides
Binomial name
Myrmica specioides
Bondroit, 1918

Myrmica specioides casent0172726 profile 1.jpg

Myrmica specioides casent0172726 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - M. specioides has a lifestyle very similar to that of M. scabrinodis but prefers distinctly warmer and drier microclimates, co-existing with Myrmica schencki in many grassland habitats. Based on personal observations, M. specioides colonies average several hundreds of workers with one or two queens. The nesting preferences of M. specioides living in several habitats have been described: on coastal dunes (Bonte et al. 2003), in forest clearings and forest edges (Du Merle et al. 1978) and from Touraune, France (Meudec and Lenoir 1973). The chemical secretions of the workers were outlined by Jackson et al. (1989). Thus, despite its widespread occurrence in Europe, there has been very few ecological or laboratory studies made of this species (under any of its earlier names), though quite possibly some of the earlier studies of M. scabrinodis might have been made on M. specioides. It has recently become established in North America (Jansen & Radchenko, 2009).


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - A member of the specioides complex of the scabrinodis species group (see also Radchenko and Elmes 2004). It is quite a variable species, especially in the important diagnostic characters such as frons width, the shape of petiole, colour and sculpture. The workers and queens are most often confused with those of Myrmica scabrinodis, differing from the latter by the wider frons and the less extended frontal lobes (means FI 0.39 and FLI 1.29 vs. 0.36 and 1.38), by the somewhat shorter propodeal spines and by the shape of the petiole, with weakly developed dorsal plate. At the same time, males of M. specioides well differ from those of M. scabrinodis by the much shorter standing hairs on the scape and tibiae, while by these features they are very similar to several other species (e.g. Myrmica salina, Myrmica hellenica, Myrmica tobiasi, Myrmica gallienii, Myrmica rugulosa and some others). The taxonomy of this species has a history of confusion and is not yet finally resolved, we would not be surprised if modern genetically based studies eventually show that M. specioides comprises two (or perhaps even more) somewhat cryptic species. (as discussed for M. scabrinodis).

Yellow red to reddish brown. Antennal scapes sharply angulate at bend with a more or less distinct lateral expansion. Petiole narrow, rectangular from above, in side view sloping evenly from the anterodorsal crest to its junction with the postpetiole. Postpetiole spherical almost cubical in side view, only slightly higher than wide. Head Index: 84.6; Frons Index: 40.6; Frontal Laminae Index: 78.3. Length: 3.0-4.5 mm (Collingwood 1979).

Keys including this Species


Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - Europe (to the north to southern England and Denmark), Caucasus, Asia Minor, Iran, Turkmenistan, south of West Siberia and northern Kazakhstan, to the east until Altai Mts.; introduced to North America (see Jansen and Radchenko 2009).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Palaearctic Region: Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium (type locality), Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Iran, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Turkmenistan, 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) - Although M. kozakorum (=specioides) is a species of the Steppe Zone, within that biome it is normally found in intrazonal, relatively wet artd shaded• places (small woods, meadow-like associations around lakes, etc.). It appears to be fairly tolerant of high soil salinity often being found in scrub on the margins of salt lakes, however it does not appear to have evolved a highly adapted behaviour to such habitats as for example is seen in M. bergi (see Notes to that species). We suspect that it forages in the patches of shaded vegetation and does not compete with M. bergi in the fully exposed open conditions. It is most common in the small relatively open oak woods that develop in shallow depressions in the steppe, and on the edges of larger lakes, these become flooded in periods of high rainfall and the shade helps retain the soil moisture. Here colonies are quite small, at most a few hundred workers, and nests are usually built in the soil under small rotten branches, pieces of bark or even leaves. The nuptial flight is in August-September.

This is a rather local species in Europe but likely to be overlooked through confusion with Myrmica scabrinodis in the female castes and may well occur in other areas of southern Fennoscandia. It is a more slender species with a broader frons, narrow petiole and more spherical postpetiole. The male resembles that of Myrmica rugulosa but has the petiole longer and lower with a much flattened dorsal area. In England and Denmark nests occurred in coastal sand and gravel banks with a simple entrance hole. Workers behave more aggressively than M. scabrinodis and sting freely. Alatae have been found in August and September.


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






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

  • specioides. Myrmica specioides Bondroit, 1918: 100 (w.q.m.) BELGIUM. Junior synonym of scabrinodis: Emery, 1921f: 40; Sadil, 1952: 249; Bernard, 1967: 116; of rugulosoides: Santschi, 1931b: 342. Revived from synonymy: Collingwood & Yarrow, 1969: 57; Collingwood, 1979: 56; Seifert, 1988b: 16. Senior synonym of puerilis: Collingwood & Yarrow, 1969: 57; of balcanica: Pisarski, 1975: 12; Kutter, 1977c: 70; Seifert, 1988b: 16; of scabrinodoides, striata: Collingwood, 1979: 56. Junior synonym of bessarabica: Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 93. Revived from synonymy: Seifert, 1994: 11; Seifert, 1996b: 146 (in key); Radchenko, Czechowski & Czechowska, 1997: 488; Seifert, 2002a: 95; Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 229. Senior synonym of balcanica, nevodovskii, puerilis, sancta, scabrinodoides, striata, tschuliensis: Seifert, 2002a: 95 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 229 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 284. Senior synonym of sancta: Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 229; of silvestrianum: Güsten, Schulz & Sanetra, 2006: 29; of dolens: Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 284; of dolens, kozakorum, turcica: Seifert, 2011: 183.
  • silvestrianum. Tetramorium silvestrianum Emery, 1924c: 167, fig. A1 (w.) SPAIN. Junior synonym of Tetramorium forte: Collingwood, 1978: 71. Combination in Myrmica: Güsten, Schulz & Sanetra, 2006: 29. Junior synonym of specioides: Güsten, Schulz & Sanetra, 2006: 29.
  • nevodovskii. Leptothorax (Leptothorax) nevodovskii Karavaiev, 1926c: 164, fig. 3 (w.) GEORGIA. Junior synonym of bessarabica: Arakelian, 1994: 23; of specioides: Seifert, 2002a: 95 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 229 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 284.
  • sancta. Myrmica scabrinodis var. sancta Karavaiev, 1926f: 67, fig. 4 (w.) UKRAINE. Seifert, 1988b: 21 (q.m.). Junior synonym of scabrinodis: Stitz, 1939: 90; Sadil, 1952: 249; of specioides: Kutter, 1977c: 70. Revived from synonymy and raised to species: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1840; Arnol'di & Dlussky, 1978: 532; Seifert, 1988b: 21. Junior synonym of bessarabica: Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 182; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 93; of specioides: Seifert, 2002a: 95 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 229; Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 284.
  • striata. Myrmica rugulosoides var. striata Finzi, 1926: 96, fig. 7 (w.q.m.) ITALY. Subspecies of scabrinodis: Santschi, 1931b: 344. Junior synonym of specioides: Collingwood, 1979: 56; Güsten, et al. 2006: 29; of hellenica: Seifert, et al. 2009: 68; of specioides: Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 284.
  • puerilis. Myrmica puerilis Stärcke, 1942c: xxvii, figs. 1-3, 5 (w.q.m.) NETHERLANDS. Material of the nomina nuda atlantica, neglecta referred here: Stärcke, 1942c: xxvii. Junior synonym of specioides: Collingwood & Yarrow, 1969: 57; Seifert, 1988b: 16.
  • dolens. Myrmica puerilis ab. dolens Stärcke, 1942c: xxvii (w.q.m.) NETHERLANDS. Subspecies of bessarabica: Bolton, 1995b: 278. Subspecies of specioides: Seifert, 2002a: 95 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 229 (by implication). Junior synonym of specioides: Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 284; Seifert, 2011: 183.
  • balcanica. Myrmica (Myrmica) balcanica Sadil, 1952: 253, figs. V, 1-18; VIII, 24; IX, 21; X, 8 (w.q.m.) CZECHOSLOVAKIA, SERBIA, BULGARIA. Junior synonym of sancta: Arnol'di, 1970b: 1840; of specioides: Pisarski, 1975: 12; Kutter, 1977c: 70; Seifert, 1988b: 16; of bessarabica: Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 182; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 93; of specioides: Seifert, 2002a: 95 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 229 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 284.
  • scabrinodoides. Myrmica (Myrmica) balcanica var. scabrinodoides Sadil, 1952: 255, figs. V, 9-13; VII, 37; IX, 34; XI, 10, 11 (w.q.m.) CZECHOSLOVAKIA. Junior synonym of specioides: Pisarski, 1975: 12; Kutter, 1977c: 70; Seifert, 1988b: 16; of bessarabica: Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 93; of specioides: Seifert, 2002a: 95 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 229 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 284.
  • tshuliensis. Myrmica sancta subsp. tshuliensis Arnol'di, 1976a: 553 (w.q.m.) TURKMENISTAN. Junior synonym of bessarabica: Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 182; of specioides: Seifert, 2002a: 95 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 229 (by implication); Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 284.
  • turcica. Myrmica scabrinodis var. turcica Santschi, 1931b: 343 (w.q.) TURKEY. Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 314 (m.). Raised to species: Seifert, 1988b: 18. Junior synonym of specioides: Seifert, 2011: 183. See also: Radchenko & Elmes, 2004: 230; Radchenko & Elmes, 2010: 312.

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



Radchenko and Elmes (2010) - from a combination of the Latin words speciosus = good looking and oides = like or resemble.


  • Atanassov, N.; Dlussky, G. M. 1992. Fauna of Bulgaria. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Fauna Bûlg. 22: 1-310 (page 93, Junior synonym of bessarabica)
  • 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 116, Junior synonym of scabrinodis)
  • Bondroit, J. 1918. Les fourmis de France et de Belgique. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 87: 1-174 PDF (page 100, worker, queen, male described)
  • Collingwood, C. A. 1979. The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomol. Scand. 8: 1-174 (page 56, Revived from synonymy, senior synonym of scabrinodoides and striata)
  • Collingwood, C. A.; Yarrow, I. H. H. 1969. A survey of Iberian Formicidae (Hymenoptera). EOS. Rev. Esp. Entomol. 44: 53-101 (page 57, Revived from synonymy, senior synonym of puerilis)
  • Ebsen, J.R., Boomsma, J.J. & Nash, D.R. 2019. Phylogeography and cryptic speciation in the Myrmica scabrinodis Nylander, 1846 species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), and their conservation implications. Insect Conservation and Diversity 12: 467-480 (doi:10.1111/icad.12366).
  • Emery, C. 1921c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174A:1-94 94: 1-94 + 7 (page 40, Junior synonym of scabrinodis)
  • 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).
  • Jansen, G. & Radchenko, A. 2009. Myrmica specioides Bondroit: a new invasive ant species in the USA? Biological Invasions 11: 253–256 (DOI:10.1007s10530-008-9229-y).
  • Kutter, H. 1977c. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Insecta Helv. Fauna 6: 1-298 (page 70, Senior synonym of balcanica)
  • Pisarski, B. 1975. Mrówki Formicoidea. Kat. Fauny Pol. 26: 3-85 (page 12, Senior synonym of balcanica)
  • Radchenko, A. G.; Czechowski, W.; Czechowska, W. 1997. The genus Myrmica Latr. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in Poland - a survey of species and a key for their identification. Ann. Zool. (Warsaw) 47: 481-500 (page 488, Revived from synonymy)
  • Radchenko, A.G. & Elmes, G.W. 2010. Myrmica ants of the Old World. Fauna Mundi 3: 1-789.
  • Sadil, J. V. 1952 [1951]. A revision of the Czechoslovak forms of the genus Myrmica Latr. (Hym.). Sb. Entomol. Oddel. Nár. Mus. Praze 27: 233-278 (page 249, Junior synonym of scabrinodis)
  • Santschi, F. 1931c. Notes sur le genre Myrmica (Latreille). Rev. Suisse Zool. 38: 335-355 (page 342, Junior synonym of rugulosoides)
  • Schlick-Steiner, B. C.; Steiner, F. M.; Bracko, G.; Paill, W.; Seifert, B. 2003. The temporary social parasite Lasius bicornis (Fórster, 1850) new to Slovenia, and Myrmica bessarabica Nassonov, 1889 corrected into M. specioides Bondroit, 1918 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Acta Entomol. Slov. 11: 159-162 (page 159, misidentified as M. bessarabica)
  • 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 16, Revived from synonymy, Senior synonym of balcanica)
  • Seifert, B. 1994a [1993]. Die freilebenden Ameisenarten Deutschlands (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) und Angaben zu deren Taxonomie und Verbreitung. Abh. Ber. Naturkundemus. Görlitz 67(3): 1-44 (page 11, Revived from synonymy)
  • Seifert, B. 1996b. Ameisen beobachten, bestimmen. Augsburg: Naturbuch Verlag, 351 pp. (page 146, (in key) Revived from synonymy)
  • Seifert, B. 2002a. The “type” of Myrmica bessarabica Nasonov 1889 and the identity of Myrmica salina Ruzsky 1905. Mitt. Münch. Entomol. Ges. 92: 93-100 (page 95, see comment under bessarabica)
  • Seifert, B. 2011. A taxonomic revision of the Eurasian Myrmica salina species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Soil Organisms 83: 169-186.