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Mound Ant (Formica spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Mound Ant.




Mound ants use doses of formic acid to defend their colony, spraying it at intruders.



 Updated: 9/21/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org




Mound ants are found all over the continent. They form hills, or mounds in the ground and build the nest deeper underneath. Workers are often seen swarming the mound when it is approached. Like other ants in the Formica genus, they can spray the noxious chemical, formic acid, from the tip of the abdomen. It is not highly toxic, but serves as a deterrent to intruders. In high concentrations, it can be caustic.

This species of Mound Ant is mostly red and has a black abdomen. The ‘waist’ has only one hump, or node, which is an indication that it does not sting, and instead relies on its formic acid chemical defense and large population size. They vary in size depending on their role in the colony. Look for this type of ant in woodlands and fields. Mounds may be under leaf litter or exposed out of wood chips. This is typically a forest-dwelling ant so it is not a likely to be found indoors.


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Formicidae [ View More ]
          Genus: Formica [ View More ]
            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
Scientific Name: Formica spp.
Other Name(s): Forest Ant; Field Ant; Wood Ant
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 4mm to 13mm (0.16in to 0.51in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red; black
Descriptors: red head; red waist; black butt; black abdomen; swarm; hill; mound; heap; active; formic acid
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 4mm | Hi: 13mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.
Territorial Map
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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State of New Mexico graphic
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State of North Carolina graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Utah graphic
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State of Washington graphic
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State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of both a bee and an ant insect
1
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
2
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
3
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
5
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees, & Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.