Formica rubicunda Emery, 1893     
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Arthropoda   >   Class Insecta   >   Order Hymenoptera   >   Family Formicidae   >   Genus Formica   


Formica rubicunda is named for the bright reddish coloration of these ants (rubicunda is based on the Latin for reddish or ruddy) (Ellison et al., 2012). This species, like the other members of the Formica sanguinea species group, is a socially-parasitic ant species. Colonies of this ant always have substantial numbers of workers of the Formica fusca species group, which the rubicunda workers capture as pupae from neighboring colonies of their hosts. Raids of this species, and related species, can be a common sight on hot summer afternoons in open habitats containing numerous Formica subsericea nests. Since the host workers do all of the tasks related to colony construction and brood care, the actual nests take on the character of an oversized host colony, with a population greater than the normal size of host colonies. One can often surmise at a glance that a Formica nest is a sanguinea group mixed colony by the unusually large size of the nest, and flipping debris or leaves at the nest entrance make this suspicion easy to confirm. The population ratio of host workers to the slavemakers is greatly skewed in favor of the host workers, who perform all tasks (including foraging, brood care, nest construction, etc.) except for raiding for pupae, which the generally larger rubicunda workers do efficiently.


This species is dulotic on species of the Formcia fusca group, which in Maryland probably largely means Formica subsericea, the most common representative.

There is 1 record in the project database.

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Formica rubicunda specimen. Contributed by April Nobile. Photo by AntWeb Data. (MBP list)

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