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State/Province: Colorado

Specimens: 5,659
Images: 0
Imaged Specimens: 186

Subfamilies: 9
Genera: 39
Species/Subspecies: 205

Valid Species/Subspecies: 178

  Endemic: 3
  Introduced: 3

Stefan Cover, David Lubertazzi, & Josiah Kilburn


The ant fauna of Colorado is highly diverse, in large part because the state is a crossroads where the ant faunas of the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, and desert southwest meet and blend. The state is also home to over 15 separate mountain ranges which each bring their own respective ecological communties for different species to thrive in. Colorado also sports some of the highest numbers of specimens for a US state on the website. Colorado also appears to be one of the most diverse regions in the world for Formica, with over 50 species reported from the state. Despite this, it is still imperfectly known. Much of the plains side of the state is undersampled, and many regions of the state remain uninvestigated.

The following preliminary list is based on Gregg’s The Ants of Colorado (1963). This book remains a useful compendium of basic information (including elevation graphs and maps for every valid species at the time of collection), but the nomenclature is outdated and the classification in many important genera has been superseded by more modern revisions. The present list is an edited version of Gregg’s, with updated nomenclature in accordance with Bolton et al. (2007). In addition, the names of several eastern species very unlikely to occur in Colorado, as well as those of poorly defined taxa, have been removed pending better evidence concerning their occurrence in the state or their identities, respectively. Lastly, a few species have been added to the list based on recent collections by Stefan P. Cover (SPC).

Despite much collecting effort in the past (notably by W. M. Wheeler and R.E. Gregg), recent collecting has resulted in many new finds. Several rare ants have been found in the state for the first time (e.g., Monomorium talbotae, Harpagoxenus canadensis) or have been rediscovered after many years (e.g., Pheidole elecebra, Formica emeryi). A new army ant species, Neivamyrmex kiowapache, was recently described from Colorado by Snelling and Snelling (2007). In addition, two recently described Myrmica species (Francoeur, 2007) have been collected in Colorado. These and many other new ant species that have been discovered will add considerably to the state list over the next few years. The findings include new Formica, Myrmica, Dorymyrmex, Tapinoma, and Temnothorax. Studies in progress will transform our knowledge of the Colorado ant fauna and will soon render the picture presented here obsolete.

Pogonomyrmex Occidentalis Nuptial FlightMyrmica Sp. (Colorado)


Stefan Cover, David Lubertazzi, & Josiah Kilburn

Author Bio:

Stephan Cover and David Lubertazzi have spent several years studying ants in the United States. Cover is the Co-Author of the Ants of North America book and has collected many Specimens in Colorado that can be found in the SPC Collection. David Lubertazzi is a curator of ants at the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University where many of the state's ant specimens can be found. Josiah Kilburn has studied the ants of Colorado for the past 5 years and spent countless hours collecting and identifying ants from the state. The photographs seen on this page were taken by Josiah Kilburn

Colorado Ant Curators