Jump to content

  • Chat
  •  
  •  



Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use, and contain no ads for members. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

Photo
* * * * * 1 votes

Formicinae - how to notice differences

vedad karavdi formica camponotus polyergus lasius formicinae ants

  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Offline wook - Posted September 26 2013 - 5:15 PM

wook

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 126 posts
  • LocationSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Genus:

  1. Lasius
  2. Formica
  3. Camponotus
  4. Polyergus

 

I am going to try to present you how to distinguish between some close related genus of the ants in Formicinae subfamily.

Formicinae is subfamily of “modern” ants, there’s several genus in this subfamily, but most common are Lasius, Formica, Camponotus and Polyergus. Most species names are coming from Latin (lingua latīna) language, like Formica s.str. pratensis where word Formica is Greek word for “ant”; s.str. is short for sensu stricto  Latin – “in strict sense”; pratensis lat. for “meadow”.

Sensu stricto in this contest means strictly wood ant or true wood ant.

 

Most common genus of ants in this subfamily is Lasius. They are covering most of the world. Workers of this genus are only few (3 to 5.5) millimeters while queens can be about 1cm.

Lasius are very similar to Formica and only few details will help to distinguish between this two genus.

Generally, all Formica members (workers) have hairy and round gaster. Gaster can be stretched if it’s full but then each tergite will be distinguished. Head of ants in this genus is almost twice width of thorax. Propodeum is not wider than pronotum.

Lasius however have big and peaked gaster on bottom, small convex head, just a little bit wider than widest part on thorax. Propodeum is wider than pronotum or same width.

Intervals between head-thorax-petiole-gaster in Lasius genus is very small except for Lasius emarginatus which can be very easily confused for Formica.

Formica members, usually are from about 4.5mm to 10mm while Lasius are up to 5.5mm.

 

gallery_6_3_14942.png

(Formica worker and Lasius worker thorax compare.)

 

Queen of Lasius (except parasites) have smallest head, compared to thorax and thorax, then gaster. Head is not wider than thorax. Gaster have length of head and thorax together.

It is very important to note that Lasius sp. can be confused for Brachymyrmex sp. queens.

Head of Formica’s queen is wider or same than her thorax. Gaster is widest or same as thorax.

 

gallery_6_3_19025.pnggallery_6_3_4314.png

(Lasius flavus and Formica (serviformica) balcanina queens.)

 

gallery_6_3_58310.png

(Formica fusca fusca queen, dead.)

 

gallery_6_3_57864.png

(Formica sensu stricto pratensis queen.)

 

On F. fusca and F. pratensis queens photos you can note that gaster of sensu stricto queen is smaller and more round. From dorsal view, gaster of Formica sp. can look like spehere. Also, Formica (serviformica) sp. queens have larger compound eyes.

 

After I’ve described differentiations between Formica and Lasius genus, it’s time to talk about Camponotus.

Identification of carpenter ants is relatively easy ad they are quite unique. There are easily noticeable differentiations between species within genus and most of all, they are usually largest ants.

Camponotus genus is present everywhere from Australia, over Micronesia, Asia, Europe and Africa and both America.

Camponotus genus is polymorph. Big and super big workers have huge heads,  some about 3-4mm wide.

 

gallery_6_3_85966.jpg

(Camponotus vagus queen with nanitics.)

 

Queen of Camponotus in appearance is long, head is wider than thorax and have shape of major worker, just little bit smaller with some species.

Thorax is long, strong and very high. Gaster is oval shaped.

Antennal fossa – base of antennas is slightly shifted up comparing to Formica and Lasius antennal bases which are just above clypeus.

 

gallery_6_3_32101.png

(Camponotus worker profile.)

 

gallery_6_3_12576.jpg

(Polyergus rufescens queen.)

 

Polyergus is one truly unique genus. Polyergus ants are well adopted for fight, they are actually just a raiders, they can’t even raise own brood without help of slave ants. Unlike Formica (raptiformica) sanguinea who enslave all other species in Formica genus, Polyergus enslave only Formica (serviformica) group of ants and they are mandatory parasites.

There’s only one species of Polyergus in Europe, but they are more species around the globe.

Same as Formica, Polyergus is inhabiting only north hemisphere.

Thorax of worker is lot similar to thorax in Formica. Worker has strong pronotum and propodeum, while mesonotum is really small.

Thorax of queen is really small, and it’s obvious that they are strictly parasites.

Petiole is very plump, bottom of clypeus is flat, mandibles are sharp without teeth as with other ants. Top of antennas are sharp.

Head is wider than thorax in both queen and worker form.

 

gallery_6_3_50673.png

(Polyergus sp. and Formica sp. compare.)

 

Author: Vedad Karavdić a.k.a. wook

Photo and Illustration: Vedad Karavdić and friends.


  • Spamdy likes this

gallery_6_3_34111.png


#2 Offline Crystals - Posted September 26 2013 - 6:42 PM

Crystals

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,030 posts
  • LocationAthabasca, AB (Canada)

Nice.  I will be referring to this chart in the future for ants I have not seen before.


"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astound the rest." -- Samuel Clemens

 

List of Handy Links   (pinned in the General section)

My Colonies


#3 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 26 2013 - 7:04 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Yeah, this is very nice. Thanks.



#4 Offline wook - Posted September 27 2013 - 2:49 AM

wook

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 126 posts
  • LocationSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Thank you guys, I really had busy few days while I was writing this. There could be some mistakes or so that needs to be revised. But so far it's good.

There will be appendixes for other genera too.


gallery_6_3_34111.png


#5 Offline Bigb - Posted September 27 2013 - 7:52 AM

Bigb

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPip
  • 30 posts
  • LocationLa Mirada, CA

Awesome write up,  lots of great information and well written.  Thanks.



#6 Offline wook - Posted September 27 2013 - 8:03 AM

wook

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 126 posts
  • LocationSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Thanks Bigb, hope it will be of some use! :)


gallery_6_3_34111.png


#7 Offline AntCzar - Posted October 2 2013 - 7:16 AM

AntCzar

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

This is really handy stuff, thank you :)



#8 Offline James C. Trager - Posted January 6 2014 - 1:23 PM

James C. Trager

    Expert

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 344 posts

Another difference between Formica & Lasius (in adddtion to the smaller size of the latter) is that Formica spp. have two rows of bristles on the inside surface of the middle and hind tibiae. The setae are a bit hard to photograph, but under the microscope, they are lacking in Lasius.



#9 Offline wook - Posted January 8 2014 - 3:54 PM

wook

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 126 posts
  • LocationSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Another difference between Formica & Lasius (in adddtion to the smaller size of the latter) is that Formica spp. have two rows of bristles on the inside surface of the middle and hind tibiae. The setae are a bit hard to photograph, but under the microscope, they are lacking in Lasius.

Thank you Doc. I didn't knew about that, however, I am still based on Formica genus.


gallery_6_3_34111.png






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: vedad, karavdi, formica, camponotus, polyergus, lasius, formicinae, ants

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users