Together with all but one of the ants previously included in Leptothorax (Myrafant), this species is now placed in Temnothorax (Bolton 2003). Queens and the small pale yellow to yellowish-brown workers are immediately distinguishable from other British and Channel Islands Temnothorax species by having antennal clubs the same colour as the rest of the antennae. The workers are also distinguishable by their possession of a mesopropodeal furrow - seen in profile as a depression on the dorsal surface of the alitrunk separating the mesonotum and propodeum. Individuals morphologically intermediate between workers and queens are not uncommon (Plateaux 1970).
Temnothorax nylanderi occurs locally throughout southern England and in South Wales, and is present in Jersey and Sark. Elsewhere, it occurs in western Europe and the western part of central Europe, reaching as far north as Denmark and southern Sweden (Czechowski, Radchenko & Czechowska 2002).