Formica cinerea (Grey Field Ant)
This Ash-Grey Formica species, has one of the largest distributions of its genus, spanning entire countries across Europe, from Northern Spain all the way to Balkan territories. It's ashy-grey colouration is visually quite impressive. Not to mention, that this species is very fast and agile.
Interestingly, this species is polygynous, meaning that their colonies are often made up of more than one queen. According to scientists, upto 10 queens in mature colonies has been noted! This is an adaptation it seems like to enable these ants to survive against changes to their habitat in urbanised areas.
In the wild, nests are often found underground, surrounded by low lying shrubs and ground dwelling plants typically associated with open fields. However, due to increasing urbanisation in their natural ecosystem, many can be found under paving slabs or in crevices between concrecte structures,
They are a generally docile species of ant that is suitable for beginners or more experienced enthusiasts alike. Yet, when agitated, you will experience just how quick these little critters can run. In terms of growth they are quite fast to develop once the colony reaches 50 workers and over. Due to the nature of their natural environment, these ants are active throughout most of the year except November - March and therefore, would benefit from a small hibernation rest period.
It is illegal and strictly frowned upon to release any non-native ants into the wild.