Lasius psammophilus Seifert, 1992

Description and notes

Lasius psammophilus is a small brown to dark brown ant which until recently was confused with L. alienus Förster. Seifert (1992) showed that it was a distinct species based on morphological differences coupled with distinctly different habitat preferences. The scapes and tibia have no erect hairs. Workers can be separated from the sibling species L. alienus by the greater number of hairs (2-5) between the propodeal spiracle and the metapleural gland.

Distribution

It is distributed in England and Wales with a bias towards coastal sites and sandy heaths. Previous confusion with L. alienus means that it is probably currently under-recorded.

Status (in Britain only)

This species is not regarded as scarce or threatened.

Habitat

It prefers dry grassland and heathland over a sand or gravel substrate.

Flight period

June to September. Nuptial flights are on muggy days from 15.00 to 18.00 hours.

Foraging behaviour

Tends underground aphids and feeds on their honeydew.

Nesting biology

This species builds extensive nests, totally underground with up to 12,000 workers in a nest.

Author of profile

M G Fox

Year profile last updated

2011