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Crystal's Formica emeryi Journal

crystals formica formica emeryi emeryi

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12 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Crystals - Posted April 8 2015 - 6:38 PM

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On Aug. 28 2014 I caught a parasitic Formica queen - Formica emeryi (ID thread: http://www.formicult...meryi#entry4344).

Lovely colors.  I boosted her with 6 or so pupae from a Formica podzolica nest, which she readily accepted.  She did seem to need to eat every 24 hours though, or else she starting trying to get out.  Once fed with hummingbird nectar she calmly sat with the pupae.

 

Formicaface3_zps67f0d8f3.jpg

Formicaside_zpscb68333a.jpg

 

Most parasitic Formica in my location will not lay eggs until after hibernation.  This lady was no exception.  She went into hibernation in mid-September.

 

I pulled her out of hibernation early January.  She laid a small batch of eggs shortly afterwards and the workers cared for them with no issues that I saw.

As of April 1, 2015, all 15 pupae have eclosed.  Luckily, the host workers did not kill any of the new workers. 

 

As of April 8th, only one host worker remains.  I am not sure what happened to the rest, I do not see any bodies in the garbage pile.

 

DSC07539_zps00wokb0d.jpg


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

 

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#2 Offline Ants4fun - Posted April 8 2015 - 7:24 PM

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Really cool colony! Hope it turns out well for you!



#3 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted April 8 2015 - 10:50 PM

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Coloration looks a lot like the one Chromerust found. But that can't be...



#4 Offline James C. Trager - Posted April 9 2015 - 4:14 AM

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Just wondering, why are you calling this F. emeryi and not F. aserva?



#5 Offline Crystals - Posted April 9 2015 - 6:34 AM

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Just wondering, why are you calling this F. emeryi and not F. aserva?

I have had F. aserva before, this does not resemble F. aserva in behavior or in coloration.  This species is no where near as aggressive, and their behavior in general is different.

I have seen wild nests of this species (which I think is F. emeryi) and they are quite different from F. aserva or the many other parastic Formica species we have around here. 

 

Aserva usually have a bright red head and thorax - I have never seen actual black on the head or thorax of F. aserva before.  This one has lots of black on the top of head and thorax and some dark red coloration underneath, the lack of pilosity and head shape ruled out species like F. ulkei.

http://www.antweb.or...aants&pr=i&pr=b

 

Many ants which I have called F. aserva in the past, I am not even sure if they are actually F. aserva after observing them more.  We have so many parasitic species that look like F. aserva, but when put under the microscope, it turns out they have no clypeal notch, or some other features that don't line up with F. aserva.  In Alberta, we have a lot of parasitic Formica species and I can't seem to find a good key to help ID them better.  I can easily narrow them down to the rufa or sanguinea, but after that I encounter lots of difficulties.  We have so many species that look very similar, even under the microscope...

Do you have any good leads on a key that would cover all Formica that can be found in Alberta?

I have another parasitic queen at home I haven't even posted pictures of and I am having a terrible time IDing her.


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

 

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#6 Offline Jonathan21700 - Posted April 9 2015 - 12:00 PM

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Really nice! Can I look after a colony in the rufa group? I have heard from people that it's impossible because of the formic acid. But yours looks successful. :)



#7 Offline Crystals - Posted April 9 2015 - 12:10 PM

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Formica from Europe are often harder since some can actualy spray formic acid, and from what I have heard, the other species tend to produce a lot of formic gas.

 

Living in Canada, I have only ever had one incidient with any Formica gassing themselves, and that was with about 80 ants in a test tube. 

With proper ventilation in nest, especially when it gets larger, I don't see why it isn't possible.


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

 

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#8 Offline Jonathan21700 - Posted April 9 2015 - 1:30 PM

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Thanks!



#9 Offline Crystals - Posted June 16 2015 - 8:06 AM

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This colony has been put into hibernation.


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

 

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#10 Offline James C. Trager - Posted July 9 2015 - 4:46 AM

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Key to ants of Alberta can be downloaded free:

Community ecology of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the central sand hills ofAlberta, and a key to the ants of Alberta
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#11 Offline Crystals - Posted July 23 2015 - 6:41 PM

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Thanks Dr. Trager.

 

Anyways, this colony came out of hibernation today.  4 smaller workers died in hibernation.


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

 

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#12 Offline Crystals - Posted September 25 2015 - 5:58 PM

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No new workers yet, 3 large larvae, and a small ball of eggs.  I had previously moved them to a fresh test tube, and I am doubting that they are enjoying it.  Brood growth is terribly slow for a Formica species, even with the heat cable.

I may try attaching a foraging area and see if that helps.  That usually makes a huge difference with young colonies.

 

DSC07948_zpsxk1sk3sh.jpg


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

 

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#13 Offline Crystals - Posted February 26 2016 - 6:34 PM

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The queen did not make it through hibernation.

I managed to get one worker to adopt a different parasitic Formica queen.

 

Thus ends this journal. 


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

 

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