Formica oreas Wheeler, 1903,

Shattuck, Steve & Cover, Stefan, 2016, Taxonomy of some little-understood North American ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Zootaxa 4175 (1), pp. 10-22: 17

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Formica oreas Wheeler, 1903


Formica oreas Wheeler, 1903 

Formica oreas Wheeler, W.M. 1903: 643  . 4 worker, 4 queen syntypes, Woodland Park [38°59′N 105°03′W], Colorado, 8500ft., 26 July 1903 (W.M. Wheeler) (Museum of Comparative Zoology, examined)GoogleMaps  ; 6 worker syntypes, Manitou Springs (as Manitou) [38°52′N 104°55′W], Colorado (W.M. Wheeler) (Museum of Comparative Zoology) [ Formica  _ oreas  ].GoogleMaps 

Formica oreas comptula Wheeler, 1913: 460  . 10 worker, 2 queen syntypes, Pullman [46°44′N 117°11′W], Washington, 10 April 1908 (W.M. Mann) (Museum of Comparative Zoology) [ guid/ MCZ: Ent:22717]. New synonym.GoogleMaps 

Wheeler (1913) described this taxon as a variety of F. oreas  , stating that it was darker in color and more pilose than F. o re a s. Creighton (1950) could not confirm the pilosity differences but did find the darker color significant enough, when combined with the more northern distribution, to treat F. comptula  as a subspecies of F. oreas  . Syntype workers of F. comptula  in the MCZC differ little in color or pilosity from collections of F. o re as from other parts of its range. However, Wheeler (1913) also described pilosity differences in the queen caste. These are far more noteworthy than the supposed differences in the workers. The syntype queens of F. comptula  have longer, coarser, more erect, and more abundant pilosity than queens of typical F. o re a s. Queens from Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, all show typical shorter, fine-textured, “silky” F. oreas  pilosity. Given the small amount of F. comptula  material available, we provisionally interpret this as population level variation. Further collecting is needed to see whether queens from populations in the northern and far western states show pilosity like the F. comptula  syntypes and if the variation is clinal rather than discrete. Pending better evidence, we feel it best to synonymize F. comptula  with F. oreas  at this time.

The known distribution of F ormica oreas  includes Alberta, Canada and the following states in the US  : Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming  .


Museum of Comparative Zoology














Formica oreas Wheeler, 1903

Shattuck, Steve & Cover, Stefan 2016

Formica oreas

Wheeler 1903: 643

Formica oreas comptula

Wheeler 1913: 460