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Species: Polyergus rufescens   (Latreille, 1798) 

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Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2022)

Formica rufescens Latreille, 1798 PDF: 44 (w.q.) FRANCE. Palearctic. Primary type information: MNHN AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Schenck, 1852 PDF: 70 (m.); Forel, 1874 PDF: 137 (gynandromorph); André, 1882c PDF: 163 (w.q.m.); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1968a PDF: 214 (l)
Combination in Polyergus: Latreille, 1804: 179
Senior synonym of Polyergus testaceus: Smith, 1858a PDF: 57.
See also: Stitz, 1939: 369; Hölldobler, 1985: 225

Taxon Page Images:


Pavel Krásenský (c) 2012

Locality: Croatia, Senj env. Pavel Krásenský (c) 2012

// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Americas: United States
    Asia: Armenia, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey
    Europe: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Nearctic, Palearctic

Distribution Notes:

Mostly Submediterranean SLO, CZ


Open xerothermous habitats, slave-maker of Serviformica


decreasing (Dutch vernacular name: amazonemier)

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Collingwood, C. A., 1979, The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark., Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 8, pp. 1-174

64. Polyergus rufescensHNS (Latreille, 1798) Figs. 267,268.

Formica rufescens LatreilleHNS, 1798:44.

Worker. Reddish brown to brownish; head elongate; clypeus foreshortened with fla[[...]] anterior border, armed with long edentate sickle shaped mandibles. Maxillary palp short and very slender. Scale nodal; propodeum sharply raised in profile. Gula clypeus, occiput, dorsum of alitrunk with erect hairs, more profuse on gaster. Length 5.0-7.0 mm.

Ergatoid queen. As worker but with more massive alitrunk and hairs more sparse on alitrunk and gaster. Length: 7.0-9.0 mm.

Normal queen. Winged or with normal sclerites and normal queen shaped bread alitrunk. Colour as worker but appearance more shining with body hairs more sparse. Length: 8.0-9.5 mm.

Figs. 267, 268. Polyergus rufescens (Latr.)HNS. - 267: head of worker in dorsal view; 268: alitrunk of worker in profile. Scale: 1 mm.

Male. Black with eyes, legs and funiculi pale. Mandibles edentate, very thin and reduced. Palps very reduced. Head short and broad relative to alitrunk; eyes very large, hairless. Scale nodal but thinner in profile than in female castes, emarginate in front view. Scale and gaster with abundant long hairs. Length: 6.0-7.0 mm.

Distribution. South and Central Sweden, very local, recorded from Sk., Bl., Hall., Sm., 01., Upl. - Not found in British Isles. - Range: Spain to South Russia, Central Italy to Stockholm; rarcin Belgium and Netherlands.

Biology. This is the famous Amazon ant. Raiding forays are carried out by small troops of workers on hot days after mid summer and are invariably successful. The adversary ants are decapitated or have their heads pierced by the PolyergusHNS with their pincerlike jaws. The worker pupae of members of the Formica fuscaHNS group, usually F. fuscaHNS or F. rufibarbisHNS, are carried back to the parent nest for rearing as auxiliary workers by ants of the same or similar species introduced by earlier raids. Single queens whether ergatoid or normal secure adoption in nests of the auxiliary species by destroying and replacing the host queen. A mature colony may consist of a few dozen to a few hundred PolyergusHNS workers and many more up to a few thousand of the auxiliary species. Queens and workers are unable to feed themselves or to rear brood. Nests are under flat stones in warm sheltered places.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 5 times found in heathlands, 3 times found in Unknown, 1 times found in Meadow, 1 times found in the nest entrance in crack between sidewalk blocks in front of barber shop on side street.

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times Nest under stone, 1 times raiding nest of Formica, 1 times lawn.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 4 times Manual catch, 2 times Hand, 2 times Pitfall trap, 1 times hand collection, 1 times Nest sample.

Elevations: collected from 1300 - 1400 meters, 1366 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1943-07-12 00:00:00.0 and 2007-06-01 00:00:00.0

Type specimens: Nontype: casent0745190, casent0745191, casent0745192

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