Canadian Forest Service Publications

The fate of an intentional introduction of Formica lugubris to North America from Europe. 2008. Storer, A.J.; Jurgensen, M.F.; Risch, A.C.; Delisle, J.; Hyslop, M.D. J. Appl. Entomol. 132: 276-280.

Year: 2008

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28304

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Mark record


Red wood ants (Formica s.str.) are not prevalent in the forests of North America, but commonly occur in conifer and mixed conifer forests in northern Europe and Asia. In 1971, a European red wood ant species, Formica lugubris, was intentionally established in a 35-year-old predominantly mixed conifer plantation approximately 30 km north of QC, Canada. The purpose of its introduction was to evaluate the potential of this species as a biological control agent against conifer-defoliating Lepidoptera species. This red wood ant introduction was monitored periodically for about 5 years after establishment, but its long-term fate has not been reported. We visited this field site in 2005 and found that this species was well established, and we could locate some of the nests that resulted from the original release. We mapped and measured over 100 nests around the site of original release, which ranged from 5 cm in height to over 1 m. We estimated the population of introduced ants to have grown to over 8 million in the last 34 years. Significant clustering of nests suggests that these nests may be one supercolony. F. lugubris has become a dominant understory arthropod in this mixed forest, and is likely to have ecological impacts, including effects at the community and ecosystem level.