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Fantastic photo! I have seen your photos on other sites, I think, like Diptera.info...always enjoy them.
My Flickr photos...
Many thanks ophrys.... and thanks for lots of good ID input from you. I have some good kit and do take a lot of nature pics, including lots of inverts and it's nice when they get noticed. Yes I've been getting ID help on Diptera.info for a while, and Hymis.de for tricky wasps, but ispot has become my go-to site for many things recently.
Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.
It keys comfortably to this in Ants of Poland, but I don't know if there are other similar large Formica in Slovenia. The well defined edges to the dark marking on the top of the thorax, combined with the upstanding hairs on both head and thorax, are good characters, beautifully shown in the photo.
Amazing picture - an inspiration for us all!
Thanks sparky... Seems all the crawling around on my belly is paying off!
And thanks Brian. This pdf http://www.antweb.org/slovenia/species.pdf has some great close ups of the possible Slovenian species and F. pratensis seemed the best fit, and the nest location and form seem just right for this species also from what I've read.
The nest type and situation are also absolutely typical for F. pratensis - open, grassy, sunny site, relatively small (cf other wood ant spp), shallow-domed. It used to occur in Dorset. Nice find and pictures!
Thanks Phil. It looked like a small wood ant nest in the wrong place - far too open, so I zeroed in to get a range of shots and my research came up with the right ID. Thanks for your confirmation and input. It was a nice hike too!
Lat/Lng: 46.3898, 14.1014
Alpine pastureland, south-facing slope