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Genus FORMICA Linné

     This is a large, complex Holarctic ant genus. Most of the species are northern or are associated with wooded areas. Accordingly, we have few in the Creosote Bush Scrub deserts. Of those which do occur here, only two may be considered normal
inhabitants and they are uncommon, limited to scattered favorable niches.
     With one exception (F. perpilosa) all our species belong to the "fusca group" of Wheeler (1913b) and Creighton (1950). This group was revised by Francoeur (1973) with some rather drastic modifications. The keys seem inordinately difficult and it seems likely that further study will reduce the number of species recognized by Francoeur.

KEY TO SPECIES OF Formica

 
Workers
 
1 1 Apical margin of clypeus more or less acute in middle; clypeus with longitudinal carina; integument of head and mesosoma densely tessellate, only very slightly shiny


2
-- Apical margin of clypeus weakly concave or distinctly notched in middle, median carina weak or absent (Fig. 271); integument of head and mesosoma smooth and shiny

perpilosa (Wheeler )
2 (1) Metasternum lacking pilose process on each side of spinasternal pit

3
-- Metasternum with a pilose process on each side of spinasternal pit 5
3 (2) Promotum without erect hairs or with one or two pairs of quite short inconspicuous hairs; vertex with one or two pair of short stiff erect hairs in ocellar area

4
  Pronotum with 6-8 pairs of erect long slender hairs; vertexwith 4-6 pairs of long erect flexuous hairs in ocellear area
aerata Francouer
4(3) Mesometasternal profile elongate, broadly rounded; metasternal pilosity restricted to area caudad of spinasternal pit; propodeum, in profile, low and elongate

xerophila
M. Smith
-- Mesometasternal profile compressed and subangulate; metasternal pilosity partially surrounding spinasternal pit; propodeal profile high and short, distinctly subangulate

gnava (Buckley)
5(2) Eye and scape with abundant short, fully erect hairs (Fig. 272)

francoeuri Bolton

-- Eye and scape without standing hairs altipetens Wheeler
     
 
Females
 
1 Lower margin of clypeus more or less acute in middle; clypeus with longitudinal median carina; integument of head densely tessellate, dull or slightly shiny

2
--
Lower margin of clypeus weakly to distinctly notched in middle; clypeus without median carina; integument of head smooth and shiny


perpilosa Wheeler
2(1) Metasternum without pilose process on each side of spinasternal pit
3
-- Metasternum with pilose process on each side of spinasternal pit 5
3(2) Promotum without erect hairs or with one or two pairs of quite short inconspicuous hairs; vertex with one or two pair of short stiff erect hairs in ocellar area

4
  Pronotum with 6-8 pairs of erect long slender hairs; vertex with 4-6 pairs of long erect flexuous hairs in ocellear area aerata Francouer
4(2) Eye projecting beyond side of head in frontal view; mesometa- sternal profile low and elongate, followed by concavity; metasternal pilosity not surrounding spinasternal pit

xerophila
M. Smith
-- Eye not projecting beyond margin of head in frontal view; meso-metasternal profile with high, rather narrow, convexity followed by angle; metasternal pilosity partially surrounding spinasternal pit

gnava (Buckley)
5(2) Eye and scape with abundant short, fully erect hairs francoeuri Bolton
-- Eye and scape without erect hairs altipetens Wheeler

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Date of this version 8, Nov. 2003
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