Formica rufa is one of four British species of 'wood ant' and is confined to England and Wales. There is some indication that there has been a contraction of the range of F. rufa, especially in northern, central and eastern England and parts of Wales. In many parts of its southern range the species is, however, still locally common and even expanding. The apparent indication of a contraction of the range may be due, in part, to a lack of recording effort in certain areas. Comparing this map (Ed. the one published in Edwards 19??) with that for post-1961 records produced by Barrett in 1979, the main areas for increased recording effort would appear to be: Cumbria; the Forest of Dean and English/Welsh border counties; Berkshire and Hampshire and parts of East Sussex and east Surrey (these last four counties are not usually noted for their lack of records). There is also a possibility that some of the historical records for this species in northern and central Britain have arisen through confusion with Formica lugubris (there is, in fact, an overlap of the two species in northern England). Confirmation of these is needed although the possibility that F. lugubris has taken over some sites from F. rufa should not be ruled out.