Myrmica sabuleti

Description

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.

Similar Species

Can be confused with a number of other Myrmica species but most notably Myrmica scabrinodis

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

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. 

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.

Habitat

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.

When to see it

Mating flights typically occur in August and September. Adult workers can be found from early spring through to autumn.

Life History

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.

UK Status

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.

VC55 Status

It appears to be uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland although under-recording is likely to be a factor. Last VC55 record was in 2011.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

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

UK Map