Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2014)
NEARCTIC: United States: WA OR CA ID NV UT MT WY* CO NM ND SD WI IL; Canada: British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario. *The type specimen was collected in Wyoming. A collection of Formica obscuripes
was made at Ft. Davis, TX by an unknown collector on 6Jun1902. Specimen from AMNH collection.
Broad habitat preferences, an incomplete list includes: sagebrush steppe, prairie, hardwood forest, and mixed coniferous forest. This species as currently conceived, besides have broad habitat preferences, has high variability in coloration, from mostly red (black gaster) to almost completely infuscate black (head orange). Like many other Formica
, F. obscuripes
primarily tends hemipterans on vegetation.
Head as broad as long; scapes not covered in erect setae; setae present on lateral corners of headcapsule; setae present on pronotum, mesonotum and propodeum; erect setae present on femora and on tibiae in addition to ventral double row. Makes more-or-less dome-shaped thatch-mounds of organic debris.
The current concept of F. obscuripes
allows for variation in length and density of setae and pubescence on all abovementioned surfaces. In the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest, majors are somewhat infuscated, while minors are completely dark.
Check Alex Wild's determination of some northern California material as F. planipilis. Also note that McIver & Loomis (1993. Insectes Sociaux 40:207-218) record "Formica planipilis" from SNARL, near Mammoth. I think that these two taxa may be conspecific.
Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)
Specimen Habitat Summary
Found most commonly in these habitats: 12 times found in shrub steppe, 6 times found in conifer forest, 2 times found in sagebrush, 5 times found in aspen forest, 1 times found in Pinyon-cedar woodland, 1 times found in Shortgrass prairie, 2 times found in lodgepole pine forest, 1 times found in oak woodland, 1 times found in Black oak dunes, 2 times found in alpine meadow edge, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods or in the following microhabitats: 82 times search, 1 times Thatched nest, 2 times under rock, 4 times hand collecting, 1 times Roadside, 1 times Thached nest, 1 times Thatch nest of pine needles, 1 times under rocks, 1 times rotting log, 1 times Under thatched boulder, 1 times Grassy bench, ...
Elevations: collected from 5 - 2896 meters, 1518 meters average
Type specimens: syntype of Formica obscuripes: casent0911081; syntype of Formica rufa obscuriventris melanotica: casent0905698
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