Myrmica rubra,

Collingwood, C. A., 1979, The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark., Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 8, pp. 1-174: 52-53

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Myrmica rubra


5. Myrmica rubra  HNS  (Linne, 1758) Figs. 25,43, 53,59.

Formica rubra Linne  HNS  , 1758:580. Myrmica laevinodis Nylander  HNS  , 1846a:927. Myrmica rubra (Linne)  HNS  ; Yarrow, 1955b: 113.

Workers. Yellowish brown. Sculpture dilute; frontal triangle and subspinal areas smooth and shining. Antennal scapes long and slender. Petiole node with short indistinct dorsal area sloping evenly without definite break to its junction with the postpetiole. Head Index: 79.5; Frons Index: 49.4; Frontal Laminae Index: 92.7. Length: 3.5-5.0 mm.

Queen. As worker. Length: 5.5-7.0 mm (microgynes 4.5-5.5 mm).

Male. Body colour dark with appendages lighter. Head rugose but rest of sculpture dilute with petiole, postpetiole, area between notauli and also frontal triangle smooth and shining. The funiculus segments are more slender and shorter than in M. ruginodis Nyl  HNS  ., the scapes are long and slender, obliquely and evenly curved near the base. The tibiae and tarsi have long projecting hairs which provide the easiest distinction from M. ruginodis  HNS  . Length: 4.5-5.5 mm.

Distribution. Locally common throughout Denmark, South and Central Fennoscandia apd the British Isles. Found also in the north in warm sheltered areas only (Lofote Islands, Narvik, Oulu). - Range: Portugal and Ireland to E. Siberia, Italy to North Scandinavia.

Biology. This is a lowland species often abundant where it occurs in sheltered valleys, usually in alluvial soil by riversides and on the coast. Colonies are normally polygynous with several to many queens and up to 1000 or more workers (Elmes, 1973b) nesting in the ground or under stones. Microgynes are quite frequent with this species (Collingwood, 1958; Elmes, 1973a). This is the most aggressive of the Myrmica  HNS  species and stings freely. This ant tends aphids more consistently than other members of the genus and is frequently found collecting nectar on the inflorescence of urnbelliflorae and other herbs. Mating flights occur in August and are orientated towards high buildings.