Slave-Raiding Ants

Official Name

Polyergus

Size

5 to 20 mm

Color

Shiny Yellowish-Red body

Geographical Location

Found in Northeastern to Midwestern of North America

Common Household Location

Lawn, Garden and Kitchen

Identifying Characteristics

  • Polyergus lucidus is a rare, parasitic ant with an extremely curious life history.
  • All Polyergus ants are ‘slave-making ants’ which enslave ants of other species to provide workers for their own colonies.
  • Polyergus lucidus workers (wingless, sterile females) are distinguished from other Amazon ants (Polyergus species) by the elongate mandibles and shiny yellowish-red body.
  • The gleaming colour of the body gives rise to the species name ‘lucidus’, which means ‘bright’ in Latin. Polyergus lucidus queens (winged, reproductive females) are larger than the workers, while the males tend to be smaller.

Official Name

Polyergus

Size

5 to 20 mm

Color

Shiny Yellowish-Red body

Geographical Location

Found in Northeastern to Midwestern of North America

Common Household Location

Lawn, Garden and Kitchen

Identifying Characteristics

  • Polyergus lucidus is a rare, parasitic ant with an extremely curious life history.
  • All Polyergus ants are ‘slave-making ants’ which enslave ants of other species to provide workers for their own colonies.
  • Polyergus lucidus workers (wingless, sterile females) are distinguished from other Amazon ants (Polyergus species) by the elongate mandibles and shiny yellowish-red body.
  • The gleaming colour of the body gives rise to the species name ‘lucidus’, which means ‘bright’ in Latin. Polyergus lucidus queens (winged, reproductive females) are larger than the workers, while the males tend to be smaller.

Notes

Polyergus is a Holarctic genus of obligate social parasites that attack the closely-related genus Formica. They are commonly called ‘Amazon ants’ , ‘kidnapper ants’, or ‘slave-raiding ants’. Polyergus workers are apparently unable to perform the tasks involved in nest construction, foraging, and brood care. Work is instead carried out by the host Formica, who are captured as larvae and pupae during spectacular afternoon raids.