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).

At a Glance • Limited invasive  


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).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 60.305185° to 26.96°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Palaearctic Region: Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium (type locality), Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Iran, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, 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

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.


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.

Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.
  • This species is a host for the fungus Rickia wasmannii (a parasite) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission within nest).
  • This species is a host for the fungus Rickia wasmanniii (a pathogen) (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).



Images from AntWeb

Myrmica specioides casent0172730 head 1.jpgMyrmica specioides casent0172730 profile 1.jpgMyrmica specioides casent0172730 dorsal 1.jpgMyrmica specioides casent0172730 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0172730. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Images from AntWeb

Myrmica specioides casent0172727 head 1.jpgMyrmica specioides casent0172727 dorsal 1.jpgMyrmica specioides casent0172727 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0172727. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Images from AntWeb

Myrmica specioides casent0172729 head 1.jpgMyrmica specioides casent0172729 profile 1.jpgMyrmica specioides casent0172729 profile 2.jpgMyrmica specioides casent0172729 dorsal 1.jpgMyrmica specioides casent0172729 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0172729. 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.

  • 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.

Type Material

Bezděčková et al. (2017) - Myrmica balcanica: Altogether 13 syntypes are deposited in National Museum, Prague, Czech Republic (all dry-mounted, glued on rectangular card labels):

  • SYNTYPES (8 workers, on the same label on one pin): ‘Hradiště / u Litoměřic / 19. 6. 48 / Sadil [hw] // 854 [hw] // M. balcanica [underlined] Sad. / Sadil det. 1951 [hw] // Mus. Nat. Pragae, Inv. [p] / 3043 [hw]’.
  • SYNTYPES (2 workers on two labels on one pin) ‘Myrmica / rugulosa [hw] // 26. VII. 38 / Petrovo Selo / CHORVATSKO / l. V. Novák [hw] // COTYPE [p, red label] // M. balcanica [underlined] Sad. / Sadil det. 1951 [hw] // Mus. Nat. Pragae, Inv. [p] 3405 [hw] // Myrmica [p] / puerilis Stke [hw] / Det. С A. Collingwood [p]’.
  • SYNTYPES (2 workers on the same label): ‘Ljulin pl. / Bulg. VI. 35 / lgt. Dr. Táborský [p] // COTYPE [p, red label] // M. balcanica [underlined] Sad. / Sadil det. 1951 [hw] // Mus. Nat. Pragae, Inv. [p] 3406 [hw] // Mus. Nat. Pragae, Inv. [p] 3058 [hw] // Myrmica [p] / puerilis Stke [hw] / Det. С A. Collingwood [p]’.
  • SYNTYPE (1 worker): ‘Pilis u Slov. Nov. / 27. 7. 36 Mesta / Hoffer [hw] // Det. Dr. Záleský [p] M. scabr: rugulosoid. [hw] // COTYPE [p, red label] // M. balcanica [underlined] Sad. / Sadil det. 1951 [hw] // Mus. Nat. Pragae, Inv. [p] 3409 [hw] // Myrmica [p] / puerilis Stke [hw] / Det. С A. Collingwood [p]’.

Remarks. In the original description (SADIL 1952), the date of collection for the series of workers from Hradiště u Litoměřic is reported as We think this is an error caused by a wrong transcription of the label data during the original manuscript preparation and consider these specimens syntypes.

Bezděčková et al. (2017) - Myrmica balcanica var. scabrinodoides: Two paralectotypes are deposited in National Museum, Prague, Czech Republic (both dry mounted, glued on rectangular card labels):

  • PARALECTOTYPE (1 worker): ‘Myrmica / wesmaeli / Bondr. [hw] // V. 1938 / Bohnice / PRAHA / l. J. Sadil [hw] // M. b. var / scabrinodoides / Sadil (det 1951) [hw] // Mus. Nat. Pragae, Inv. [p] 3060 [hw]// Paralectotypus / (Bezděčková et al. 2017) [p, red label]’.
  • PARALECTOTYPE (1 worker): ‘Ing. J. Palásek / Kylešovice, Sil. / ČSR 4.9.1937 [p] // COTYPE [p, red label] // M. balcanica / scabrinodoides / Sadil (det. 1951) // Mus. Nat. Pragae, Inv. [p] 3062 [hw] // Myrmica [p] / puerilis Stke [hw] //, Det. С. A. Collingwood [p] // M. rugulosa / dt. Radchenko iii - 2001 // Paralectotypus / (Bezděčková et al. 2017) [p, red label]’.

Remarks. The lectotype (worker from Praha-Hlubočepy) was designated by RADCHENKO & ELMES (2010: 286); it is deposited (together with 2 workers and 2 male paralectotypes from the same site) in the Museum of the Zoological Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. One of the paralectotypes in National Museum, Prague, Czech Republic (the specimen from Kylešovice) is not conspecific with the lectotype and belongs, in fact, to Myrmica rugulosa (RADCHENKO & ELMES 2010).

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.


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