Formica pallidefulva

Acid Ant
Formica pallidefulva


Acid Ant Formica pallidefulva worker on Dogwood
Acid Ant Formica pallidefulva worker on Dogwood flowers Jun 08, 2010. Wheatley, Ontario.
Acid Ant Formica pallidefulva worker on Dogwood flowers
Acid Ant Formica pallidefulva worker on Dogwood flowers Jun 08, 2010. Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification: Least hairy and shiniest, especially the male. Colour is highly variable, generally uniform dark brown in Canada.
Head: Dark brown. Head is smaller than F. incerta. Large eyes.
Antenna: Very long base (scape) extending past head. Scape length longer than F. incerta.
Thorax: Shiny, more reddish-brown. Hair, if any, very short and only at base of thorax. Queen does not have the three dark spots present in F. incerta. Male is more uniform in various colours of dark brown.
Wings: Clear (hyaline) to amber on both male and queen.
Legs: Brown. Hind thigh longer than F. incerta and as long as gaster.
Abdomen: Large, shiny, dark brown. Hair very short, sparse. Queen has less hair.

Similar Species: The very long antenna base (scape), lack of hair on thorax and shiny abdomen distinguish F. pallidefulva from F. incerta.

Size: Workers 5 to 6 mm. Queens 8 to 10 mm.

Habitat: Open or closed canopy forests, prairies; dry grasslands, lawns and parks.

Food: Insects, flower nectar, honeydew left on leaves.

Flight Time: July – morning flights. A few weeks earlier than Formica incerta 

Life Cycle: Colonies are small – 500 workers or less, usually found in or under small, fallen limbs. May also nest in soil usually near a clump of grass. Only males come to lights at night.
These ants do not tend or protect aphids or treehoppers.
A host of the slavemaker ant, Polyergus lucidus and in southern Ontario.
Beewolf Wasp Aphilanthops frigidus preys on F. pallidefulva winged males and queens.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park. Lambton County per Trager, 2007. Also in Livingston County, Michigan and in Sandusky, Ohio.

Synonyms: Latrielle, 1802
Formica pallide-fulva, Formica schaufussi, Formica pallidefulva subsp. nitidiventris, Formica nitidiventris, Formica pallidefulva subsp. fuscata, Formica pallidefulva fuscata, Formica pallidefulva var. succinea, Neoformica pallidefulva, Neoformica pallidefulva subsp. delicata, Neoformica pallidefulva subsp. nitidiventris.

Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 2007, Vol 80: Revision of the Nearctic Endemic Formica pallidefulva Group by J. Trager, et al., pp. 625 to 628.
Great Lakes Entomologist, 1979, Vol. 12, #2 by Talbot, pg. 87.