Original Article

The "Black Bog Ant" Formica picea Nylander, 1846 – a species different from Formica candida Smith, 1878 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Seifert, B.


Abstract: According to morphometrical and genetical evidence, the ant taxa collected by Bolton (1995) under the name Formica candida Smith, 1878 can be divided into a minimum of two different species with separate zoogeography. The well-known "Black Bog Ant" – distributed over Europe, the Caucasus and the West Siberian Lowland – is identified as Formica picea Nylander, 1846, but the species found in all Central Asian mountains north to the Gorno-Altaisk region, in Tibet, Mongolia, the Baikal region and East Siberia is redescribed as Formica candida Smith, 1878 under fixation of a neotype. According to article 23.9.5. of the 4th edition of Iczn (1999), the name Formica picea Nylander, 1846 (a junior primary homonym of F. picea Leach, 1825) needs not be replaced by one of its junior synonyms. This rule is most appropriate, considering the fact that F. picea Leach is in Camponotus Mayr since 1861 and will never return to Formica; this application ends the confusing to-and-fro between three names that lasted for 50 years. The separation of F. picea and F. candida from the three other Palaearctic species with shining blackish body and reduced pubescence (i.e. F. gagatoides Ruzsky, 1904, F. kozlovi Dlussky, 1965 and F. gagates Latreille, 1798) is explained and morphometric data are given in two tables. An explanation for the peculiar habitat shift of F. picea is offered.