Common Red Ant - Myrmica rubra

Alternative names
Red Ant

Approximately 6 mm long. They are mainly red in colour, with slightly darker pigmentation on the head. The males are a little darker than the others. Lasius always have just a single segment waist, whereas Myrmica have two segments. M. rubra can be distinguished from M. ruginodis as the upper surface of the petiole is curved into the hind face rather than being angled. 

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required and the specimen should be examined with a microscope. In the comments box, state the key or ID method used and describe the size and identifying characters.


Commonly found in gardens, parks etc.

When to see it

All year round. Winged mating flights in August and September.

Life History

Nests under walls and old tree stumps. Like all British ants it lives in colonies. Most of the inhabitants of a colony are females and have no wings. These do all the work, gathering food and tending the eggs.

UK Status

Common throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map