Formica lugubris (hairy wood ant)

Formica lugubris


  • European: IUCN Red List (lower risk/near threatened).


Formica lugubris, or the hairy wood ant, can be easily confused with F. aquilonia. In F. lugubris the fringe of hairs at the rear of the head extends down to the compound eyes. There are also long hairs over much of the mesopleuron (Skinner & Allen, 1996; Bolton & Collingwood, 1975).


The UK distribution of the hairy or northern wood ant extends from the Highlands of Scotland through upland areas of northern England as far south as mid Wales. It can be locally common in these areas and the UK populations of this ant appear to be stable, even increasing at some sites. The hairy wood ant is found across the northern Palaearctic and in cooler mountainous regions of central and southern Europe and Asia.


Found in coniferous and mixed woodland, favouring open sunny glades, rides and woodland edges but will also inhabit non-native conifer plantations. This species prefers more successional habitat compared to Formica aquilonia, colonising young woodland but moving to the edges once the canopy closes.