Formica rufa · rudoji miško skruzdėlė

  • red wood ant, southern wood ant, horse ant
  • Rote Waldameise
  • rudoji miško skruzdėlė
  • rūsganā meža skudra, rūsganā mežskudra
  • mrówka rudnica


Nests of these ants are large, conspicuous, dome-shaped mounds of grass, twigs, or conifer needles, often built against a rotting stump, usually situated in woodland clearings where the sun's rays can reach them. Large colonies may have 100,000 to 400,000 workers and 100 queens. F. rufa is highly polygynous and often readopts postnuptial queens from its own mother colony, leading to old, multigallery nests that may contain well over 100 egg-producing females. F. rufa is aggressively territorial, and often attacks and removes other ant species from the area. Nuptial flights take place during the springtime and are often marked by savage battles between neighbouring colonies as territorial boundaries are re-established.

New nests are established by budding from existing nests in the spring, or by the mechanism of temporary social parasitism, the hosts being species of the F. fusca group, notably F. fusca and F. lemani, although incipient F. rufa colonies have also been recorded from nests of F. glebaria, F. cunnicularia, and similar species including the genus Lasius. An F. rufa queen ousts the nest's existing queen, lays eggs, and the existing workers care for her offspring until the nest is taken over.

Formica polyctena, Formica lugubris are similar to Formica rufa.