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This subfamily of ants includes many genera mostly distributed through the tropics. The sting is absent but many species have poison glands that excrete a repellant fluid through the anal orifice. The gaster has a reduced number of segments compared with Formicinae and only four are visible in dorsal view in workers and queens and five in the males. The anal aperture is flattened with a hairless horizontal slit. Only one genera and two species are native in Britain.


Formicinae is a subfamily of ants. They have a waist with a single segment: the petiole. This is a scale or node like. The gaster has five segments visible from above in females. The sting is absent and the anal aperture is pointed and fringed with hairs: the acidopore. Formic acid is produced and can be emitted from the acidopore.


Myrmicinae is a subfamily of ants. There are about 140 genera within the group, with the family being cosmopolitan. The pupae lack cocoons. Some species retain a functional sting. The petioles of Myrmicinae consist of two nodes. The nests are permanent and in soil, rotting wood, under stones or in trees.


Ponerinae is a subfamily of ants including many genera, most of which occur in the tropics and sub-
tropics. In Britain only two genera are represented. The petiole is a thickened node and there is a constriction between the first and second gastral segments. Workers and queens have functional stings.