Lasius platythorax workers attacking a Formica sanguinea worker.

In June 2017 I stopped at Iping Common, West Sussex with the intention of photographing Silver-studded Blue butterflies (Plebejus argus). But I also payed a visit to a colony of the slave-making ant Formica sanguinea which live in a small Aculeate-friendly sand quarry at the edge of the common. As


Workers tending larvae in a nest. This photo was taken in France so although I can identify them as one of the Tetramorium caespitum group identifying the actual species is beyond me.

Myrmica sulcinodis

A scarce species of dry heaths. This worker was at the Bog Mine in Shropshire, a site that seems to have a diverse ant fauna.

Lasius platythorax

Almost identical to L. niger, but with different ecological requirements. This is one from a nest in a rotten log, which led me to suspect this species, confirmed later by looking at some specimens under a microscope.

Formica rufa

A worker of this wood ant species feeding on nectar in a celandine flower.

Formica picea

The black bog ant. A worker of this scarce species on heather at Cors Goch, one of it's two Welsh localities.

Formica lugubris

In Spring workers of this wood ant species mass on the surface of the nest on any sunny day.

Formica lemani

Worker on a lichen covered rock. In marginal upland areas such as mid-Wales this species can survive by nesting in small areas of exposed, south-facing rock, even in habitat that seems otherwise unsuitable.