Formica subnitens is a really weird desert-y species of Formica. They have smaller colonies, and have small and shiny queens which infiltrate small colonies (they seem only to be able to dominate around 5 host workers at a time). Nests, unlike other Formica rufa-group, are lined with gravel and pebbles (perhaps to heat up the nest faster?).
Overall, Formica subnitens are a warm loving species of Formica from the west coast of Canada. They are one of the smallest Formica-rufa group, and in fact do not require hibernation. For the species, they form remarkably small colonies, still reaching worker counts of several thousand.
These are large, black ants at queens from 6-7 mm and workers from 5-mm. They grow large colonies up to 5000 workers in just 3 years. They prefer 22-26 Celsius and 8 mm like around 50% humidity, though there is slight variation across species. They're more skittish than most ants, and so are of medium difficulty to start, but are extremely enthusiatic and fast growing once they break 50 workers. In the wild, Formica are some of the most dominant ants, hunting down other species and consuming large amounts of biomass. We get many of these each year, though the numbers are variable.
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