mick's picture

Tiny red ant with banded abdomen

Observed: 10th June 2011 By: mick
London Natural History Society
mick’s reputation in Invertebratesmick’s reputation in Invertebrates
(c)Mick Massie 02089950926

Tiny (2mm) red ants investigating holes in a garden fence post. The id guides I have say that Temnothorax (Leptothorax) nylanderi has a distinctive band on the abdomen but should not have dark-clubbed antennae.
Leptothorax (?) acervorum may be the more likely suspect, but does it have the same banded abdomen ?

Species interactions

No interactions present.


PhilA's picture

Have you seen them since?

Definitely Temnothorax unifasciatus. This species is a continental/Channel Islands ant,not a mainland GB one, so would be very interesting to know how they have fared since...?

Mike Lush's picture

Agreed, would be good to know

I agree that this does not look like the typical British mainland Temnothorax. This opens up the possibility of something coming over from Europe, which is very exciting.

However, given the complexities of the genus in Europe (it is one of the most species rich) saying it is definitely unifasciatus seems a bit risky. It might well be unifasciatus, but I'd want to check a specimen against a European key. BWARS would also be very interested in the record, so I'd be happy to check specimens if you collect them.


PhilA's picture

Mike, Agreed, normally one


Agreed, normally one can never be too 'definite' about an ID of this sort, but having seen Temnothorax unifasciatus from the Channel Islands, and surveyed the various characters of the continental (and GB) spp, in some detail, including being aware of their tendency to hybridise, I think unifasciatus is just about the only one which could have such an epithet applied to its determination, with its sharply-defined, unbroken dark gastral stripe - and especially with photographic evidence as clear as this.

And to repeat our joint enquiry: any news of the fate of these ants since first posting would be very welcome indeed!