Allegheny Mound Ant Formica exsectoides Forel, 1886  

Status:

The enormous and distinctive soil mounds of the Allegheny Mound Ant (Formica exsectoides) are conspicuous even to the most casual observers of nature. This ant is generally distributed through much of eastern North America east of the Rocky Mountains, except for the Deep South. It has a strong preference for sunny, disturbed or open habitats, such as brushy fields, powerline rights-of-way, reclaimed strip mines, mountaintop balds, ridgetop scrubs, and similar habitats. The colonies can have dozens of queens in a single mound (polygynous), and large polydomous supercolonies of multiple mounds, containing millions of ants, can encompass large territories in ideal habitat. Individual mounds normally propagate by budding, spreading out over time, and large supercolonies may persist in the same area for decades (Ellison et al., 2012). In Maryland, the species is widespread through the Piedmont, Ridge and Valley, and and portions of the Coastal Plain on the Western Shore, but apparently not present in the Eastern Shore.

Description:

In addition to the distinctive mounds, this ant can be distinguished from similar species in the genus by the concave rear margin (vertex) of the head. This trait readily identifies ants of the exsecta species group (named for a related, Palearctic species). Note that very large workers of other Formica species can sometimes show lateral bulges on the back of the head from attachment for large mandibular muscles, but the shape is different from exsectoides.

There are 33 records in the project database.

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

Allegheny Mound Ants in Garrett Co., Maryland (5/15/2013). Photo by Matt Tillett. (MBP list)

An Allegheny Mound Ant in Montgomery Co., Maryland (10/25/2016). Photo by Bonnie Bell. (MBP list)

Allegheny Mound Ant mounds in Montgomery Co., Maryland (10/25/2016). Photo by Bonnie Bell. (MBP list)

Allegheny Mound Ant mound in Garrett Co., Maryland (5/15/2013). Photo by Matt Tillett. (MBP list)

An Allegheny Mound Ant Mound in Montgomery Co., Maryland (6/17/2017). Photo by Robert Aguilar, SERC. (MBP list)

Allegheny Mound Ants in Prince George's Co., Maryland (6/13/2018). Photo by Michael Ellis. (MBP list)

Allegheny Mound Ants in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/16/2017). Photo by Michael Ellis. (MBP list)

Allegheny Mound Ant nest in Howard Co., Maryland (8/12/2015). Photo by Jim Wilkinson. (MBP list)

Allegheny Mound Ant mounds in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (3/2/2019). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Allegheny Mound Ant mound in Washington Co., Maryland (4/2/2017). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

Allegheny Mound Ant mound in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (7/9/2017). Photo by Sue Muller. (MBP list)


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