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Species: Formica dolosa   Buren, 1944 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2020)

Formica pallidefulva subsp. dolosa Buren, 1944a PDF: 309 (w.) U.S.A. Nearctic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

[First available use of Formica pallidefulva schaufussi dolosa Wheeler, 1912c PDF: 90; unavailable name and unnecessary replacement name for Formica meridionalis Wheeler, 1904i PDF: 370, unavailable name; see there.].
Wheeler, 1913i PDF: 554 (q.); Trager et al., 2007 PDF: 619 (w.q.m.).
Raised to species: Trager et al., 2007 PDF: 619.


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: United States
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Trager, J. C., MacGown, J. A. & Trager, M. D., 2007, Revision of the Nearctic endemic Formica pallidefulva group., Advances in ant systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Homage to E. O. Wilson - 50 years of contributions. (Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 80), pp. 610-636

Formica dolosa BurenHNS, 1944 stat. nov.

Figures 1, 4 e, 5 e, 6 e

Formica pallidefulva subsp. schaufussi var. meridionalis WheelerHNS, W. M. 1904: 370 [Unavailable name.]

Formica pallidefulva subsp. schaufussi var. dolosa WheelerHNS, W. M. 1912: 90 [Unnecessary replacement name for meridionalisHNS; also unavailable.]

Formica pallidefulva subsp. schaufussiHNS: Wheeler, W. M. 1913 b: 552 (in part) [Misidentification.]

Formica pallidefulva subsp. schaufussi var. dolosaHNS: Wheeler, W. M. 1913 b: 554

Formica (Neoformica) schaufussi subsp. dolosa BurenHNS, 1944: 309. [First available use of dolosaHNS.] Syntype workers, Bull Creek, Travis Co., Texas (W. M. Wheeler) (MCZ) [Examined. Three workers on one pin, labeled true types of dolosaHNS by S. Cover, and two gynes on one pin labeled syntypes by S. Cover]

Formica pallidefulva subsp. schaufussiHNS: Emery, 1893: 654 [Misidentification.]

Formica schaufussiHNS: Creighton, 1950: 551 [Misidentification.]

Formica schaufussi subsp. dolosaHNS: Creighton, 1950: 551

Formica schaufussiHNS: Robson & Traniello, 1998: (in part) [Vouchers examined.]

NOTE: We have selected a specimen in the Mayr collection (NMW) labeled Nord Amerika / Schaufuss as lectotype of Formica schaufussi MayrHNS, as this corresponds to the locality and collector information in Mayr s (1866) description. This sample clearly belongs to the much less pilose Formica pallidefulvaHNS. Thus, the name Formica schaufussi Mayr falls to the synonymy of Formica pallidefulvaHNS, below.


Worker The largest, most pilose, most densely pubescent and least shiny of reddishyellow members of the pallidefulvaHNS group ( F. archboldiHNS is duller, but always much darker and averages smaller). Weakly bicolored; head, mesosoma and legs light coppery red (south) to yellowish or reddish brown (north); gaster a little darker than head and mesosoma. Dorsal sclerites of mesosoma with abundant erect pilosity (Fig. 6 e); erect macrochaetae on gaster abundant and long (longest macrochaetae 0.16 - 0.30 mm), straight to slightly curved. Mesosoma, especially propodeal dorsum, pubescent; gaster dulled by long, dense, pale grayish, appressed microchaetae (Fig. 4 e). Gaster with small shallow foveolae in some samples, these nearly lacking in others. The propodeal crest is nearly always rounded in F. dolosaHNS. The larger workers of this species are the largest eastern US FormicaHNS, matched within the genus only by the allopatric and otherwise quite different F. ravida CreightonHNS.

Queen Color, gastral pubescence, abundant pilosity and lack of shininess like the workers, with the usual differences in size. Sculpture a little more accented with notable fine tessellation of entire head, mesosoma and gastral dorsum; wings, when present, clear brownish to dark smoky gray. Three mesoscutal spots present as in F. incertaHNS, but these pale and diffuse.

Male Pubescence dense and pilosity abundant; surface sculpture punctate; head and gaster dark brown, mesosoma reddish brown to dark reddish brown with legs the same color; wings dark smoky gray. Larger than the nearly similar F. incertaHNS, in which the mesosoma is normally about the same color as the head and gaster.


The propodeal crest of F. dolosaHNS is nearly always rounded in profile, and is typically sharp or even carinulate in the other species. This large, hairy, densely pubescent and faintly bicolored ant is most likely to be confused with F. biophilicaHNS. Compared to F. biophilicaHNS, F. dolosaHNS has conspicuous appressed pubescence on the mesosoma, has more abundant, but slightly shorter gastral pilosity (longest macrochaetae up to 0.30 mm), has longer, denser pubescence on the gaster (compare Fig. 4 b and 4 e), and averages larger and heavier-bodied. The number of macrochaetae on the pronotum usually exceeds that on the propodeum of F. dolosaHNS, (46 of 54 specimens) whereas the number on the propodeum more often exceeds that on the pronotum of F. biophilicaHNS (20 of 32 specimens). F. dolosaHNS usually has relatively smaller eyes compared to F. biophilicaHNS (Table 1). In the field, F. dolosaHNS occupies the drier end of the habitat spectrum, the two overlapping mainly in pine-oak woodlands of the Southeastern U. S., and in dry-mesic prairies further north. In the Northeastern U. S., larger, more pilose workers of F. incertaHNS are often misidentified as F. dolosaHNS, but F. dolosaHNS averages larger and more pilose, has mesosomal pubescence and denser gastral pubescence, has longer scapes and legs; is generally lighter, more yellowish or reddish in color, and is more strictly associated with highly drained soils.


This name comes from the Latin adjective dolosus, meaning cunning or sly. Perhaps Wheeler was referring to the fleetness of its escape when alarmed, as this species is very shy and an excellent escape artist.


Widely distributed from New England across the Great Lakes region, west to Wisconsin and Iowa and south to northern Florida, the Gulf Coast states and Texas. Records of this ant in Colorado by Gregg are all misidentified F. incertaHNS (L. Rericha, personal communication). F. dolosaHNS is decidedly most abundant on acid-soil sites. These include a variety of droughty or well-drained habitats such as barrens, glades, prairies or open oak or pine woodlands on silicaceous or loessic soils. Though reported (as schaufussiHNS) from plowed fields and pastures in the Northeast, F. dolosaHNS is not usually common in such communities. J. Trager found F. dolosaHNS in calcareous glades in Alabama and Missouri, but it is not abundant in these sites. In stark contrast to F. incertaHNS and F. biophilicaHNS, F. dolosaHNS does not nest in mesic habitats or in moist, fertile soils.


ALABAMA: Lawrence; ARKANSAS: Logan; FLORIDA: Alachua; Bay; Columbia; Escambia; Gilchrist; Jackson; Jefferson; Lake; Leon; Liberty; Okaloosa; Santa Rosa; Suwannee; Walton; GEORGIA: Clarke; Lumpkin; ILLINOIS: Mason; MARYLAND: Allegany; Dorchester; MASSACHUSETTS: Plymouth; Worchester MISSISSIPPI: Chickasaw; Choctaw; Lafayette; Lee; Lowndes; Noxubee; Oktibbeha; Pontotoc; Scott; Tishomingo; Winston; MISSOURI: Franklin; Johnson; Lincoln; Washington; NEW JERSEY: Ocean; NEW YORK: Nassau; Suffolk; NORTH CAROLINA: Nash OHIO: Adams; SOUTH CAROLINA: Aiken; Barnwell; McCormick; Oconee; TEXAS: Travis; WISCONSIN: Adams; Crawford; Dane; Grant; Iowa; Marshall; Sauk; Walworth; Waukesha.


Nests may be hidden beneath a rock or piece of wood, but most nest entrances are at the base of a grass clump or other herbaceous plant. Some open onto bare ground, the entrance surrounded by a crater of excavated soil adorned with plant fragments, charcoal bits or fine gravel. J. MacGown collected F. dolosaHNS in nests at the bases of large trees on relatively drier and more open ridges in mixed forests in northern Mississippi, and from an infrequently mowed area under loblolly pines near his house in Oktibbeha Co. Mississippi. The nest at the latter site was a low mound about 45 cm across and about 15 cm high at the midpoint. Part of the mound was inhabited by Camponotus castaneus LatreilleHNS.

In the East and Gulf Coast United States, F. dolosaHNS is host to the slavemaker Polyergus lucidus longicornisHNS M. R. Smith. J. Trager's collection contains samples of this slavemaker with F. dolosaHNS slaves from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina and Mississippi. In Missouri, F. dolosaHNS is occasionally among the many hosts of F. pergandeiHNS, but we have only observed them in combination with other host species (see Natural History of F. biophilicaHNS for a case in point). In Florida, J. Trager observed F. dolosaHNS and F. archboldiHNS competing for domination of colonies of Toumeyella scales on long-leaf pine grass-stage seedlings. Occasionally, fights would arise in which the larger F. dolosaHNS threw or chased F. archboldiHNS workers to the ground.

Winged sexuals were collected in nests in mid-June in Florida and Georgia, and one male was found in a nest in western Missouri in August. Both worker and sexual pupae are always enclosed in a cocoon.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 31 times found in Black Belt Prairie, 14 times found in deciduous forest, 9 times found in nest on roadside, 7 times found in upland hardwood forest, 7 times found in oak/hickory forest, Black Belt Prairie, 6 times found in glade-like rock outcrop along North Fork Creek, 5 times found in nest in soil under litter at base of Quercus sp. at edge of woods and clearing, 4 times found in Deciduous shrub, 4 times found in near river edge in vegetation, 4 times found in Jackson Prairie, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 6 times under rock, 2 times leaf litter, 1 times under wood, 1 times Prunus pumila, 5PM p. cloudy 66F, tending colonial aphids #10720 on young green twigs, 1 times litter.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 56 times general collecting, 30 times pitfall trap, 6 times sweeping, 7 times Lindgren funnel, 3 times bait, 1 times search, 3 times alpha pinine baited Lindgren Funnel, 2 times Berlese funnel, 1 times malaise trap, 1 times Pitfall, 1 times direct collection, ...

Elevations: collected from 100 - 2134 meters, 1321 meters average

Type specimens: not part of type series: casent0911066

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