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TaxonomyBrowse
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Genus Myrmica

ant - Myrmica Wasp ? - Myrmica Maybe Aphaenogaster (Spine-waisted Ants) - Myrmica punctiventris ant - Myrmica Flying Ant - Myrmica Myrmica? with aphids & syrphid larva - Myrmica rubra - female Reddish ant on the ground - Myrmica spatulata worker and male, European fire ant - Myrmica rubra - male - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Formicoidea (Ants)
Family Formicidae (Ants)
Subfamily Myrmicinae
Tribe Myrmicini
Genus Myrmica
Pronunciation
International: meer-MEEK-ah, American: mer-MY-kuh or MER-mick-uh
Explanation of Names
Greek myrmex, myrmekes = 'ant'; -myrmex and a shortened form -myrma are common in ant genus names
Numbers
12-segmented antennae, palp formula 6,4 (almost uniquely among our Myrmicinae (except Manica) - in all other myrmicines it is reduced.
Size
Workers 4-5 mm, males 5-7 mm, queens 4-8 mm (some with workers nearly twice this size known from the Himalayas)
Identification
Reddish to dark brown myrmicine ants 4-5 mm long with dorsal thoracic segments fused, thoracic segmentation mostly obscured by coarse longitudinal or anastomosing rugae.
Range
Holarctic temperate and boreal regions, extending to Mexico only at high altitudes. A few have adapted to the warm climate of southeastern US.
Habitat
Most nest in soil, often at the base of grasses or sedges, and forage on the surface and on low vegetation. A few woodland species nest in small diameter rotten wood such as branches buried in leaf litter, and forage on the leaf litter or on forest herbs and low bushes. In localites at high altitudes and latitudes, they often nest under flat stones.
Season
Become active during the day with the first warm weather of spring. During summer, they become active during cooler parts of the day and at night. Mating flights of most species occur August through October.
Food
Predators (or scavengers) of usually soft-bodied insects and gatherers of honeydew, extrafloral nectar, fruit juice, etc. Some tend and defend aphids on young growth of herbaceous and shrubby plants.
Life Cycle
Mating flights are in fall, and for most species what happens between then and the appearance of a mature colony is unknown. Queens may rear a brood of small larvae that diapause over winter, then bring the young to maturity the following spring. Queens are often observed foraging in spring and early summer, apparently lacking the internal resources to seal themselves in and rear the first brood, as do some other ants.
Remarks
As a genus, this is among the most cold-hardy groups of all North American ants, thriving in a variety of habitats across Canada and the northern US. There are an estimated 50 species in the Nearctic (about 3X this in recently revised Palaearctic Myrmica). Several common but undescribed species exist across the US and Canada, and the taxonomy of virtually all of the described species needs to be clarified. Some progress has been made toward this for ne. US and e. Canada in(1)
Print References
all known described and undescribed species of New England are covered in(1) (that guide serves well for all of eastern North America)
Internet References
Works Cited
1.A field guide to the ants of New England
Ellison et al. 2012. Yale University Press. 398 pp. 2012. Yale University Press.
2.Ward P.S. (2002-) AntWeb