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Photo#498652
First [i]microgyna[/i] group species in the guide - Formica difficilis - female

First [i]microgyna[/i] group species in the guide - Formica difficilis - Female
Shaw Nature Reserve near Gray Summit, Franklin County, Missouri, USA
March 17, 2010
Size: both just under 5 mm
This is a grassland species, which reproduces both by colony fission, and by the tiny queens entering and parasitizing the brood-rearing operation of a F. incerta colony. Note the striking difference in color and shininess of the worker and queen.
This queen appears to mimic the host species in surface sculpture, and in more southern locales, in color.
(Below, F. incerta)

I found these while out poking around in a prairie area burned off a couple of weeks ago, then rained on (a lot) after that, and then warmed up to over 70F for the first time this year. This is not the largest worker and yet even this one is nearly the size of the queen.