Formica polyctena Forster

Collingwood, C. A., 1979, The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark., Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 8, pp. 1-174 : 144

publication ID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Formica polyctena Forster


59. Formica polyctena Forster   HNS , 1850 Figs. 172,236-241.

Formica polyctena Forster   HNS , 1850: 15.

Worker. Erect hairs on head and alitrunk very sparse and short or absent, except on posterior margins of mesopleura. Gula hairs, if present, are restricted to one or two very weak hairs. Microsculpture is usually slightly coarser than in F. rufa   HNS but punctures and micropunctures are widely spaced as in that species. Length: 4.0-8.5 mm.

Queen. As F. rufa   HNS but middle of scutellum less shining, with fine longitudinal striae and punctures. Frons distinctly shining but rest of body due to coarser sculpture presenting a somewhat more matt appearance than in F. rufa   HNS . Length: 9.0-10.5 mm.

Male. Eye hairs very sparse and short. Erect hairs on promesonotum sparse, very short or absent on metanotum. Punctures on gaster and frons shallow and widely spaced. Length: 9.0-10.5 mm.

Distribution. Local, Denmark: EJ, NEJ, NEZ. - Sweden: Sk., Bl., Hall., Gtl., Nrk., Sdm., Upl., Vrm. - Norway: 0, AK, VE. - Finland: N, Ka, Ta. - Not found in England. - Range: Spain to Siberia, Italian Alps to latitude 60° in Sweden.

Biology. This is accepted as a good species by most European authors, eg. Betrem (1960), Dlussky (1967), Kutter (1977). Some samples of F. rufa   HNS tend to approach the hairless condition of F. polyctena   HNS however, making certain determination sometimes difficult. Elton (priv. communication) found that F. polyctena   HNS in its most typical form readily accepted fertile queens and pupae from other distant nests of the same species but were always antagonistic to and rejected such from both polygonous and monogynous colonies of F. rufa   HNS . This is usually found in a group of nests and always has many queens, sometimes up to 1,000 or more.