Lasius emarginatus (Olivier, 1792)

Description and notes

Lasius emarginatus is a fairly common warmth-loving ant found in much of Europe including the Channel Isles but only recently discovered in mainland Britian. It looks similar to the common black ant L. niger (Linnaeus) except for its distinctive orange/red alitrunk contrasting with its dark brown head and gaster. It could, possibly be confused with L. brunneus (Latreille), which is also bi-coloured, but it is a much bolder species. Unlike the furtive L. brunneus, L. emarginatus can be found running around on open ground. Under the microscope the antennal scapes of L. emarginatus can be seen to have outstanding hairs unlike the scapes of L. brunneus.

 

Distribution

Lasius emarginatus distribution map

Found throughout the Channel Isles. Not known from mainland Britain until a colony was found in Islington in 2008. Since then there have been more records from London and a few isolated records from other parts of England.

Found throughout central and southern Europe and around the Mediterranean.

Status (in Britain only)

The Channel Islands are, for a number of reasons, excluded from the geographical coverage of the British Red Data book (Shirt, 1987) and the subsequent review (Falk, 1991). Now that the species has become established in Britain its status will need to be assessed.

Habitat

It requires a warm open site and its natural habitat is warm sparsely vegetated rocky areas. The colony in Middlesex is nesting in a south facing brick wall.

Flight period

Mid July to late August

Foraging behaviour

On warm days workers run around quickly in search of prey or scavenging. They mainly feed on honeydew from aphids and other plant sucking insects.

Nesting biology

Nests are made under stones, amongst rocks or in brickwork.

Author of profile

M G Fox

Year profile last updated

2021