Myrmica sabuleti is another reddish brown ant similar to other Myrmica species. Adult workers are typically 4 to 5 mm in length. Generally they are characterised by quite narrow frons and a well-developed lobe at the scape base.
Can be confused with a number of other Myrmica species but most notably Myrmica scabrinodis
Antennal scapes are sharply angulate with a longitudinal keel running forward from the bend and a more or less massive lateral extension. / The petiole node is more rounded and usually less truncate than in Myrmica scabrinodis and the epinotal spines are relatively longer but these features cannot be relied upon.
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.
This species has a distinct preference for open warm and dry habitats such as chalk downs, open sandy heaths and coastal dunes. Nests are usually under stones and seldom in tree stumps.
Mating flights typically occur in August and September. Adult workers can be found from early spring through to autumn.
Myrmica sabuleti will eat small invertebrates either caught alive or found dead and also tends aphids for honey dew. They are attracted to sugary food such as damaged fruit. This species is the host of the caterpillar of the Large Blue Butterfly. The butterfly caterpillars feed on ant grubs inside the nest of the ants.
Locally fairly common with most records from southern England, but it is also found in suitable habitats in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. This species is not regarded as scarce or threatened.
It appears to be uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland although under-recording is likely to be a factor. Last VC55 record was in 2011.
Leicestershire & Rutland Map
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Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015