Formica fusca

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Formica fusca
Grauschwarze Sklavenameise Formica fusca 01 (MK).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Genus: Formica
F. fusca
Binomial name
Formica fusca

Formica fusca, a black-colored ant commonly found throughout Europe as well as parts of Southern Asia and Africa.[1] The range within the palaearctic region extends from Portugal in the west to Japan in the east and from Italy in the south to Fennoscandia in the north. Populations from North America have been split off as a separate species, Formica subaenescens.[2] F. fusca nests are usually found in rotten tree stumps or under stones in clearcut areas and along woodland borders and hedgerows.

Colonies are facultatively polygynous (though weakly so); though the queens coexist amicably, contribution to the brood tends to be unequal. Nests are usually small, containing 500–2,000 workers. The workers are large, at 8–10 millimetres (0.3–0.4 in) long, and fast moving, though timid. To ensure that non-nest mate eggs are not reared, these workers will engage in a process known as worker policing.

F. fusca feeds on small insects such as codling moth larvae, aphid honeydew and extrafloral nectaries. Alate (winged) forms are produced in June/July and nuptial flights are in July/August.

Workers have been found to have a very high resistance to some pathogens[3] and it is thought this may be due to F. fusca utilising the antibiotic properties of their formic acid, additional to the use of their metapleural gland.

A recent study has found evidence of nepotism in F. fusca,[4] in contrast with previous experiments with other ant species;[5] this conclusion has been challenged, however, on the grounds that the observed pattern may result from differences in egg viability.[6]

Ant colony on a plant


  1. ^ "Species: Formica fusca Linnaeus, 1758". AntWeb. California Academy of Sciences. 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  2. ^ Sämi Schär, Gerard Talavera, Xavier Espadaler, Jignasha D. Rana, Anne Andersen Andersen, Stefan P. Cover, Roger Vila (2018) Do Holarctic ant species exist? Trans‐Beringian dispersal and homoplasy in the Formicidae. Journal of Biogeography. doi:10.1111/jbi.13380
  3. ^ Graystock, Peter; Hughes, William O. H. (2011). "Disease resistance in a weaver ant, Polyrhachis dives, and the role of antibiotic-producing glands". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. doi:10.1007/s00265-011-1242-y.
  4. ^ Hannonen, M. and Sundström, L. (2003) Worker nepotism among polygynous ants. Nature, 421:910.
  5. ^ Snyder, L. (1993) Non-random behavioural interactions among genetic subgroups in a polygynous ant. Animal Behavior, 46:431-439.
  6. ^ Fournier, D., Aron, S. & Keller, L. (2004) Significant reproductive skew in the facultatively polygynous ant Pheidole pallidula. Molecular Ecology, 13:203-210.

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