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Added: 5th May 2011 Description:
Red Ant with unlucky Aphid.
Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain. Notes: Myrmica ruginodis belongs to the Myrmica rubra group of species - very difficult to positively identify! (the curve at the base of the antenna and the pair of propodeal spines are two key areas) I only plumped for M. ruginodis because of the size of the nests in my garden (each nest containing many hundreds of individuals, M. rubra rarely has more than a hundred) I think there are 8 British Myrmica species. M. rugodinis is one of the most common, occuring throughout Britain and especially in the north. (although there are two sub-species of rugdinis!) So it could be either or! All I can confirm for certain is they do sting and it's not pleasant...
Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be. Notes: The antennae make it either rubra or ruginodis. The short spines and profile of the petiole are clearly rubra. Seifert gives rubra as having colonies with means of 15 queens and 1010 workers (max. 600 and >20,000), so going on colony size does not sound like a sound way to identify them. M. rubra is renowned as an aggressive stinger, much more so than ruginodis (but I would not recommend that as an identifying feature either!).
No interactions present.
Other observations of
Red Ant ( Myrmica ruginodis)