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gpoon's Tapinoma sessile Journal

crystals tapinoma sessile tapinoma journal

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24 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Crystals - Posted April 7 2015 - 6:38 PM

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Update: Please note that this colony was sold to gpoon in October 2015 and I have changed the title to reflect this.

 

July 2014.

I found a small colony of Tapinoma sessile in Fairmont Hotsprings.  I have only ever found one colony to date.  It was on the side of a mountain, in a pile of spruce needles, over 2km from the nearest human building.  Go figure.

]43710968840_7c7d649d4d_b.jpg

 

I collected 3 queens and about 100 workers.  I left the other queens and workers.

 

The first 2 weeks they were very fussy on what they ate.

During this time I also learned how dangerous condensation was for them (lost a worker or two).

I also learned how much they crave heat.  I had to double up my 15 watt heating cable before they were happy.  I put a thermometer on the glass 3mm from the heat cable and got a reading of 36C (96.8F).

 

Here is about 3 months after capture, in a 4x5" nest.  The queens have started laying eggs.  At the peak, they had a pea sized pile of eggs.

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The eggs developed into larvae, but the larvae never developed into pupae.  After 2 months of no development and minimal foraging I knew they were waiting for hibernation, this behavior is exactly like my Lasius colony when they were ready for hibernation.

 

 

 

January 2015.

After one month I got impatient and brought them out around mid January 2015. They didn't seem to mind the short "winter".

Moved them into a larger nest and thus discovered how hard it is to convince Tapinoma to move.  For a species that is rumored to constantly move about, merge and split colonies, it took me by surprise. 

Took 3 weeks of persuasion to accomplish the move with a mixture of the old nest drying out 100%, high light, high heat, vibration, and using a syringe to direct my breath into the far side of the nest.  Hardest colony I have ever had to move.  Not looking forward to the day I have to upgrade them again.

 

Once out of hibernation it didn't take long for the larvae to pupate and the queens to start laying eggs.  I can't get an accurate count on the workers once the pupae eclosed, at least 200, maybe 300.  I did not see any alates which saddens me as everything I find says that queens of this species do not live for more than a couple of years and I have no idea how old my queens are.

 

 

 

April 2015.  

I did a head count April 2015 and I still have the 3 queens.  Sometimes it is hard to tell because they are so small and they often hide under brood or workers.

 

Sorry for the cloudy glass, it seems that they like to walk upside down on it.  I will have another talk with them about it, but I doubt it will do much good.

The current pile of eggs is huge, you can see it in the background. About 3cm long and 1cm wide.  In the middle picture is lots of eggs, and at the very top a new callow worker. In the bottom picture you can see a silhouette of a queen.

 

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Keeping them contained is fun.  Needless to say that I am glad that they do not sting or bite. The lip on the foraging area has fluon on the underside of it, but they seem to occasionally find the odd foothold to get past it.  The top side of the lip was rubbed with olive oil.  The lid is on little feet to keep dust off of the oil.  This seems to be the best I can do with this foraging area and, if I maintain the olive oil properly, there are no escapees.

 

For food, they really like variety.  They rarely have a stong feeding response, but since their gasters are always distended I am sure they are getting enough to eat.

They are heavy on the sweets.  I always have hummingbird nectar or oriole nectar available, and spice things up with drops of other fruit juices.  For insects, if I give them the same thing 3 days in a row, they barely touch it.

They tend to drink the juices and leave everything else be.  They enjoy crickets, mealworms, black soldier flies, and love flightless fruit flies.  They had a very good response to Aqua 300 by ByFormica and an ant food recipe from Chromerust.  They seem to really like canned chicken.

 

They are cautious around liquid foods, but are fine with pastes and gels.

 

Most journals I have seen only go 3-6 months and then stop as the queens and colony died out.

We shall see how far this colony can go.


Edited by Crystals, October 30 2018 - 7:26 PM.

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#2 Offline AntTeen804 - Posted April 7 2015 - 7:05 PM

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Nice colony crystals

If you ain't got a dream, you ain't got nothing.


#3 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted April 7 2015 - 7:23 PM

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This is the antkeeping subforum?

 

Nice colony. :D


Edited by Gregory2455, April 7 2015 - 7:23 PM.


#4 Offline SMILEforAnts - Posted April 8 2015 - 4:30 AM

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I guess that's what happens when you have a liquid feeder available at all times! All the workers gasters stay full :P

 

Great colony!


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Pictures of my past colony [Pheidole megacephala]


#5 Offline Crystals - Posted April 8 2015 - 5:55 AM

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This is the antkeeping subforum?

 

Nice colony. :D

I guess I was in a rush to get it posted as I didn't have much time.

Thanks to whomever moved it.  :D

 

Nice colony crystals

 

Great colony!

Thanks!

 

I am really hoping for alates with this next batch of brood.  I have no idea what I can do to trigger the production of alates other than providing lots of food and variety.  Variety will get easier since the snow is melting and in a month or so I should start see insects outside.


"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astound the rest." -- Samuel Clemens

 

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#6 Offline Myrmicinae - Posted April 8 2015 - 9:42 AM

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I am really hoping for alates with this next batch of brood.  I have no idea what I can do to trigger the production of alates other than providing lots of food and variety.  Variety will get easier since the snow is melting and in a month or so I should start see insects outside.

 

 

Here in Colorado, T. sessile alates begin to eclose during June.  I'm not sure whether captive colonies would adhere to a natural schedule though.

 

Good luck!  Keep us updated.


Edited by Myrmicinae, April 8 2015 - 9:43 AM.

Journals on Formiculture:
Pheidole ceres
Tapinoma sessile

Old YouTube Channel:
ColoradoAnts

#7 Offline Myrmicinae - Posted April 8 2015 - 9:46 AM

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July 2014.

I found a small colony of Tapinoma sessile in Fairmont Hotsprings.  I have only ever found one colony to date.  It was on the side of a mountain, in a pile of spruce needles, over 2km from the nearest human building.  Go figure.

 

Despite their reputation as a household pest, I have never noticed this species near human structures in CO.  I have found them to be abundant only in relatively undisturbed natural areas.


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Journals on Formiculture:
Pheidole ceres
Tapinoma sessile

Old YouTube Channel:
ColoradoAnts

#8 Offline Crystals - Posted April 8 2015 - 9:48 AM

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Any idea how long these queens usually live? 


"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astound the rest." -- Samuel Clemens

 

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#9 Offline Myrmicinae - Posted April 8 2015 - 10:07 AM

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Any idea how long these queens usually live? 

 

Unfortunately, no.  I have yet to come across any thorough research on this.  T. sessile is surprisingly understudied overall.

 

A paper in 1928 reported that T. sessile queens only survived for a few months in the lab.  However, the author admitted that the colonies were maintained in far from ideal conditions.


Edited by Myrmicinae, April 8 2015 - 10:15 AM.

Journals on Formiculture:
Pheidole ceres
Tapinoma sessile

Old YouTube Channel:
ColoradoAnts

#10 Offline dermy - Posted April 16 2015 - 8:21 PM

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This formicarium reminds me of the one you used for a Lasius colony, because of the large crack. Hope the colony lives a lot longer then a few months!



#11 Offline William. T - Posted April 17 2015 - 3:34 AM

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How diverse is the diet? One theory I have of why these ants don't last long is because there diet only consists in captivity of one or two staples. They everything in the wild, just like Argentines, and need a lot of options. I am feeding mine spiders, sugar water, cookie bits, Kebab pieces, and dead moths.

Species I keep:

 

1 Lasius cf. Neoniger 30 workers

1 Camponotus sp. 15 workers

20 Tetramorium SpE 30 workers

1 T. Sessile 200 workers

 


#12 Offline Crystals - Posted April 17 2015 - 6:07 AM

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Due to my snowy location, in winter their diet is pretty limited.  Usually consisting of mealworms, mealworm pupae, flightless fruit flies, and the canned chicken/hummingbird nectar mix I mentioned above.  I always try to have hummingbird nectar and oriole nectar available, and occasionally add drops of other juices.

 

In summer, I add almost any bug I can catch.  I have a long insect net that I swish through the grass and dump the contents into the freezer and offer later.

 

They are definitely heavy on the sugars though.

 

But the heat they want...  I think that is why they do not usually do well in captivity.  They are always huddled under the heating cable circle where it is hottest, the glass alone reads 32C (89.6F). It has to be hotter underneath the glass with the greenhouse effect.

 

 

This formicarium reminds me of the one you used for a Lasius colony, because of the large crack. Hope the colony lives a lot longer then a few months!

It is the same one.  :lol:

 

Besides, this colony was originally collected in July of 2014.  They have made it past the 4-6 month window where most Tapinoma journals stop.  So I figured I better post my notes online.  :D


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#13 Offline dermy - Posted April 17 2015 - 11:12 AM

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Wow they sound like a weird ant to keep if they barely make it past the 6 month mark.



#14 Offline Crystals - Posted June 13 2015 - 8:06 AM

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Well, the eggs they laid after their short hibernation are still larvae.

 

Last week they started moving away from the heat cable.  I think they are getting ready for another hibernation.  I took some other colonies out of hibernation at the same time, and they, too, are showing signs of getting ready for hibernation.  I will move the heating cable to one end of the nest and give them another week to decide.

 

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Edited by Crystals, October 30 2018 - 7:27 PM.

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#15 Offline Myrmicinae - Posted June 13 2015 - 1:22 PM

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Have you noticed any larger-than-normal larvae?  This colony is definitely large enough to be producing alates, judging from my experience with local T. sessile.


Journals on Formiculture:
Pheidole ceres
Tapinoma sessile

Old YouTube Channel:
ColoradoAnts

#16 Offline Crystals - Posted June 13 2015 - 3:07 PM

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That last picture is the main larvae pile.  I can't really tell, as a species they are quite small.  The workers are only 2-3mm long, the larvae are smaller.

I see different sizes of larvae, but it looks more like the stage of development, between egg and small larvae. 

 

After moving the heat cable, they have piled most of the brood under it.  Maybe it wasn't firmly against the glass previously.


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#17 Offline dermy - Posted June 13 2015 - 3:31 PM

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I think you will notice alate larvae once they are in the later stages of Larval devolopement, and they should be easy to spot!



#18 Offline William. T - Posted June 13 2015 - 5:14 PM

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Small question:

 

What are you using to keep these devils in?


Species I keep:

 

1 Lasius cf. Neoniger 30 workers

1 Camponotus sp. 15 workers

20 Tetramorium SpE 30 workers

1 T. Sessile 200 workers

 


#19 Offline Crystals - Posted June 13 2015 - 6:54 PM

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Small question:

 

What are you using to keep these devils in?

They are good at escaping, aren't they?

If the joints of my outworld weren't covered in silicone, fluon would be my choice.  Since there is silicone in the joints, I use a 2 layer method.

I put a "lip" on my outworld, and I have a lid that goes on top of that. The lip on the foraging area has fluon on the underside of it, but they seem to occasionally find the odd foothold to get past it.  The top side of the lip was rubbed with olive oil.  The lid is on little feet to keep dust off of the oil.  With both the fluon and the olive oil, I have no escapees.

 

DSC06173_zpsfe82ece2.jpg


"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astound the rest." -- Samuel Clemens

 

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#20 Offline Crystals - Posted July 23 2015 - 6:43 PM

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Still no real growth in the larvae, although they do hug the heat cable.  After getting a few good pictures, I realize how distended their gasters are.  Obviously waiting for hibernation.  They are going into hibernation now.

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45592434332_4b91acf25a_b.jpg


Edited by Crystals, October 30 2018 - 7:30 PM.

"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astound the rest." -- Samuel Clemens

 

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