A range of posters on the topic of wood ants were presented at the Wood Ant Symposium. Below you will find a summary for each poster and links to download pdf copies of the posters.


A contribution to ant fauna of Albania (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) 

Ejup Çota 

Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Agricultural University of Tirana, Albania. 

The Albanian insect fauna it is not widely studied, especially the ant fauna. The present study brings a modest contribution on ant species of Albania. D. Agosti (1987) reported 29 ant species or taxa of uncertain placement in Albania. Surely there are much more ant species in Albania, this group has not been studied in detail until now. 

The ant species of Albania are examined and identified based on collection of specimens in different field trips, and revision of previously collected material. 

We have identified four ant species, Tapinoma simrothi (Krausse), Crematogaster scutellaris, Plagiolepis pygmaea (Latreille), Prenolepis nitens (Mayr) which are new to Albanian ant fauna. Some of the specimens have been collected in apple orchards of Durrës, Librazhd and Dibër. Only Crematogaster scutellaris (Olivier) was found in olive tree orchard of Vlora. A lot of other data were collected from the previous reports, and other data were recently added. 


The slave-maker ant Formica sanguinea at Bennachie, Aberdeenshire 

Hayley Wiswell1, Jenni Stockan1 & Jackie Cumberbirch2 

1The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, UK.

2Forestry Commission Scotland, Moray & Aberdeenshire Forest District, Aberdeenshire, UK.  

Slave-making ants such as the nationally scarce Formica sanguinea (Latr, 1798), exploit workers of other ant species to maintain their colonies (Mori et al, 2000) (Figure 1). Nearby nests of related species are raided and the host brood brought back to the parasitic nest where they eclose to produce slaves (Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990). The enslaved ants perform routine colony work, such as nest maintenance and brood care, alongside their slave-making counterparts. 

F. sanguinea has a disjunct distribution in the UK, occurring mainly in the central Highlands of Scotland and the south east of England. The colonies within Bennachie Forest, Aberdeenshire, represent the most easternly population of the ant in Scotland. We describe the habitat and natural history of the species at Bennachie which is needed to understand how they will respond to future threats and what types of habitat are required to conserve them. 

Hayley Wiswell et al - Poster pdf


Decoding nestmate recognition signals in ants


Sue Shemilt

Keele University, Staffordshire, UK.


Sue Shemilt - poster pdf


Coexistance of sympatric sibling wood ant species through spatial niche partitioning

P. Persico1, A. Maeder1,2, A. Guisan1, A. Freitag3 & D. Cherix1,3  

1Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

2Museum of Natural History, Switzerland.

3Museum of Zoology, Switzerland.

Formica lugubris and Formica paralugubris are two sibling wood ant species that, in contrast with classical rules of the biological view, seem to occupy the same ecological niche, in alpine forest ecosystems. In order to complete recent research on these species and better understand their sympatry, we collected occurrence data through a random-stratified sampling in the Swiss Jura Mountains. A first attempt is made in modelling F. lugubris and F. paralugubris habitats by the mean of General Linear Models (GLM) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). One general and two specific models were fitted on climatic, topographic and environmental spatially explicit predictors. This approach provided evidences for distinct distribution patterns of the two species, F. lugubris occurring more frequently in locations at woodland borders and F. paralugubris in deep forest. Moreover, the two species display different response to the seasonal number of frost days and to the sites’ topographic exposure. These results will be discussed in relation to the biology and the ecology of these two species. 

Perisco et al - poster pdf


Persistence of Narrow-headed Ant, Formica exsecta Nyl. nests at Glenmore Forest over a 10 year period. 

Sorrel Jones 

University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. 

Understanding changes in population and distribution through time is fundamental to conservation, but such data can be difficult to obtain for long-lived species. F. exsecta is a Red Data Book 1 species whose UK distribution is restricted to a single site in Devon, and a handful of locations in Inverness-shire, Aberdeenshire and Perthshire. A survey of Glenmore Forest, in Strathspey conducted in 1996-1999 found 430 nests, representing a significant proportion of the known UK population. In 2008 these nest sites were revisited in order to gain an insight into the dynamics of this important F. exsecta population. The total number of known active nests at Glenmore in 2008 numbered 185, representing a decline of 8%. The findings highlight the need for a resurvey of the site and long-term monitoring which takes into account the influence of social structure on effective population size. 

Sorrel Jones - Poster pdf


Not just an ants’ nest!

Murdo Macdonald 

Highland Biological Recording Group, Inverness-shire, UK.  

It may look like just a mound of plant debris with ants thronging over and around it, but this is home to a complex community of interdependent invertebrates. This poster explains some of the other invertebrates found within wood ant nests. 

Murdo Macdonald - Poster pdf


Some observations on the Wood Ant spider (Dipoena torva)

Mike Davidson

This poster summarises observations, made over 20 years, on the Wood Ant spider (Dipoena torva Thorell, 1875). D. torva is a member of a largely tropical family (Theridiidae) and species in the genus Dipoena are specialist ant predators. Within the UK, D. torva is restricted to the Caledonian pinewood areas of Scotland but it is also known from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Russia, Finland and the Balkans. In Scotland, D. torva is normally found on the trunks of Scots pine trees where there are wood ant trails. The loss of habitat and inappropriate management are the main threats to this species.

Mike Davidson - Poster pdf



Threats to Wood Ants from Built Development in the Cairngorms National Park

Gus Jones

Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group, Inverness-shire, UK. 

The northern wood ant Formica lugubris, the Scottish wood ant F. aquilonia, and the narrow headed ant F. exsecta are key Cairngorms woodland species in the 2002 Cairngorms Local Biodiversity Action Plan. The blood red slave-maker ant F. sanguinea. is also found in the Cairngorms area. In particular Strathspey supports the largest UK population of the UK Red Data Book 1 (endangered) species, the narrow headed ant F. exsecta. Globally, the rufa group ants F. lugubris and F. aquilonia are listed as ‘near threatened’ (IUCN 1996). With respect to the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act of 2004, they and F exsecta are on the Scottish Biodiversity List. Sites supporting wood ants in Strathspey are threatened by proposed built developments. Moreover, surveys of wood ants at development sites are frequently lacking, inaccurate or incomplete.

 Gus Jones - Poster pdf