Red wood ants get their name from their red and brown-black colouring and most species live in woodland habitats, in Europe at least. They are also known around the world as true, thatch or mound ants.
Taxonomically, wood ants belong to the sub-genus Formica sensu stricto, otherwise known as the Formica rufa-group. There are 13 described species of these ants in Eurasia and 19 species in North American. This group includes several morphologically similar species and more remain undescribed. Some members of the group are able to hybridise and form mixed colonies.
There are several related species which, although not true wood ants, share some of their features and characteristics such as mound building and colouration.
The ecology of wood ants is fascinating:
- What happens inside a wood ant nest?
- What do wood ants eat and what do queens do?
- How long do they live?
- Why are they important?
Click on the headings on the left hand side to learn more about individual species, wood ant ecology and the roles wood ants play in the ecosystem.