Formica exsectoides

Formica exsectoides
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Formica
Species: F. exsectoides
Binomial name
Formica exsectoides
Forel, 1886

Formica exsectoides casent0104768 profile 1.jpg

Formica exsectoides casent0104768 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Common Name
Allegheny Mound Ant
Language: English

This species nests in large mound nests. It enslaves Formica fusca and Formica subsericea. Colonies can be large, including over 1,600 individual nests. It is extremely aggressive when the nest is disturbed. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

At a Glance • Polygynous  

Photo Gallery

    Worker. Photo by Tom Murray.
    Foraging worker.
    Myles Standish State Forest, Massachusetts.
    Wixaboxet, Rhode Island.
    Haystack Mountain, Massachusetts.
    A newly established small nest from Ashburnham, Massachusetts. Photo by Tom Murray.


A member of the Formica exsecta group. Large, bicolored (red head and mesosoma, black gaster) ants with a dull surface. The larger workers can be separated as the vertex of the head is concave. The dorsum of the promesonotum is usually without hairs, at least in the largest workers. The propodeum and petiole are often without erect hairs. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)

Keys including this Species


Widespread in United States.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 50.03422222° to 24.83444444°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: Canada, United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Mexico.

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.


In New Mexico (Mackay and Mackay 2002) - Mountain meadows through juniper woodlands and grasslands, up to ponderosa pine forests.


Formica exsectoides build interconnected networks of nest mounds in forest areas that have a relatively open canopy. A thriving colony can have hundreds of nests, millions of workers and a large number of queens - creating a high abundance of ants in localized areas. Foragers are omnivorous and can fuel their busy foraging activities by collecting large quantities of honeydew. Individual mounds can be quite large, more than a meter high and many meters in length. Some colonies can persist for many decades by annually replacing senescencing queens with newly-mated, highly fecund replacements. Workers adjust and shift brood within and between nest locations, and even form new nests, in response to temperature and food availability. Changes in insolation will prompt moves to more optimal mounds with higher temperatures that facilitate brood development times, and areas that are particularly rich with food resources are often exploited by moving portions of the colony to mounds closer to richer food sources.

Flight Period

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


Association with Other Organisms

  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 Microdon fly Microdon abstrusus (a predator) in Maryland (type), Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia (Thompson, 1981).

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: polygynous (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)



The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • exsectoides. Formica exsectoides Forel, 1886b: xxxviii (w.q.) U.S.A. Emery, 1893i: 653 (m.). Senior synonym of davisi, hesperia: Creighton, 1950a: 513. See also: Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 481; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1456.
  • davisi. Formica exsectoides var. davisi Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 396 (in key) (w.q.) U.S.A. [Formica exsectoides subsp. exsectoides var. davisi Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 484; unavailable name.] Junior synonym of exsectoides: Creighton, 1950a: 513.
  • hesperia. Formica exsectoides var. hesperia Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 396 (in key) (w.) U.S.A. [Formica exsectoides subsp. exsectoides var. hesperia Wheeler, W.M. 1913f: 484; unavailable name.] Subspecies of exsectoides: Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 544. Junior synonym of exsectoides: Creighton, 1950a: 513.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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  • Choate B., and F. A. Drummond. 2013. The influence of insecticides and vegetation in structuring Formica Mound ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Maine lowbush blueberry. Environ. Entomol. 41(2): 222-232.
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  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Collection (Pers. Comm. Sven-Erik Spichiger 23 Dec 2017)
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  • Prest W. H., and H. Piers. 1922. List of a Small Collection of Ants (Formicidae) obtained in Queen's County, Nova Scotia. Nova Scotian Institute of Science 15(4): 169-173.
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