Overview

Comprehensive Description

Taxonomic History

Formica rufa r. obscuripes Forel, 1886b PDF: xxxix (w.) U.S.A. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Emery, 1893k PDF: 650 (q.m.); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1953c PDF: 165 (l.); Hung, 1969 PDF: 456 (k.).
Raised to species: Creighton, 1950a PDF: 492.
Senior synonym of Formica aggerans: Forel, 1914c PDF: 619; Creighton, 1940a PDF: 1; of Formica melanotica: Creighton, 1950a PDF: 492.
Material of the unavailable name Formica rubiginosa referred here by Creighton, 1940a PDF: 1.
See also: Weber, 1935 PDF: 165.
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Biology

Broad habitat preferences, an incomplete list includes: sagebrush steppe, prairie, hardwood forest, and mixed coniferous forest. This species as currently conceived, besides have broad habitat preferences, has high variability in coloration, from mostly red (black gaster) to almost completely infuscate black (head orange). Like many other Formica, F. obscuripes primarily tends hemipterans on vegetation.
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Formica obscuripes Forel HNS 1886b

  • Ward, P. S. (2005): A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 936, 1-68: null, URL:http://antbase.org/ants/publications/21008/21008.pdf
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Ward, P. S.

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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NEARCTIC: United States: WA OR CA ID NV UT MT WY* CO NM ND SD WI IL; Canada: British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario. *The type specimen was collected in Wyoming. A collection of Formica obscuripes was made at Ft. Davis, TX by an unknown collector on 6Jun1902. Specimen from AMNH collection.
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Taxonomic Treatment

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Identification

Head as broad as long; scapes not covered in erect setae; setae present on lateral corners of headcapsule; setae present on pronotum, mesonotum and propodeum; erect setae present on femora and on tibiae in addition to ventral double row. Makes more-or-less dome-shaped thatch-mounds of organic debris.
The current concept of F. obscuripes allows for variation in length and density of setae and pubescence on all abovementioned surfaces. In the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest, majors are somewhat infuscated, while minors are completely dark.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Formica obscuripes

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 25
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Wikipedia

Formica obscuripes

A mound

Formica obscuripes (the western thatching ant) is a species of ant in the family Formicidae. It is native to North America. It produces large mounds covered by small pieces of plant material.[1] The number of adult workers per colony may be as high as 40,000.[2] F. obscuripes feeds upon a number of insect species, consumes nectar from homopterous insects they tend, and occasionally eats plant tissue.[1] In the Blue Mountains of Oregon, F. obscuripes has demonstrated the capacity for polydomy. A supercolony in a four-hectare study area near Lehman Hot Springs consisted of 210 active nests with an estimated population in excess of 56 million ants.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Heikkinen, M. W. (1999). "Negative effects of the western thatching ant (Formica obscuripes) on spiders (Araneae) inhabiting big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)". Great Basin Naturalist 59 (4): 380–383. 
  2. ^ Capinera, J. L. (2008). Encyclopedia of Entomology, Volume 3. Springer. p. 4215. ISBN 978-1-4020-6242-1. 
  3. ^ McIver, et al.|"A supercolony of the thatch ant Formica obscuripes Forel (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) from the Blue Mountains of Oregon". Northwest Science 71 (1): 18–29. 1997. 
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