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Worker. Shining brownish black or black. Gaster pubescence very dilute, almost absent. Frontal triangle smooth without sculpture. Pronotum with numerous long erect hairs, gula and mid femora normally with one or two long hairs. Third antennal segment only slightly longer than wide. Length: 4.5-6.0 mm.
Queen. Shining black. Sculpture, pilosity and colour as worker. Third antennal segment only slightly longer than wide. Length: 8.0-9.0 mm.
Male. Shining black; frontal triangle smooth. Adpressed pubescence on gaster very long but not obscuring cuticular shine. One or two gula hairs usually present. Long hairs on side borders of scale including sides of dorsal crest which is flat, not emarginate. Length: 7.5-8.5 mm.
Distribution. Denmark, Sweden and Finland generally distributed; Norway local, recorded from Hedmark only (Collingwood, 1976). - Very local in South England. - Range: Pyrenees to Japan, Appenines to arctic Sweden.
Biology. In mountains and northern Europe this species is restricted to sphagnum mires and wet peaty meadows. Nests are often situated in grassy tussocks with a built up cone of sphagnum and grassy fragments. In Central Asia including Mongolia and parts of the Himalayas a morphologically indistinguishable form of this species is abundant but inhabits an entirely different biotope on dry stony ground. However, according to Kutter (1977) F. » piceaHNS « also nests on dry land in the High Alps. Alatae occur in July.