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Crystal's Formica sp. Journal

crystals formica journal parasitic

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12 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Crystals - Posted June 13 2015 - 9:03 AM

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I found this parasitic Formica queen on July 17, 2014.  My first thought was Formica aserva, but she does not act like my previous Formica aserva queen (and nor do her workers) and on closer inspection she lacks a clypheus, so I am awaiting older workers for a positive identification.

 

I boosted her with 12 Formica podzolica pupae, which all eclosed and accepted her with no issues.  They went into hibernation in late October.

 

I took her out of hibernation in late January.  She started laying a few eggs about 2 weeks afterwards.

 

Her first workers started eclosing March 28.  The host workers started attempting to kill the new workers as their callow colors faded. I managed to remove all host workers during a move to a new nest, leaving 12 young callow workers, some pupae and larvae.  I chased flightless fruit flies into the nest so young workers would have an easy meal until they figured things out.
 

On April 8th most of the pupae had eclosed without any issues.  A small new batch of eggs appeared.  One worker was finally venturing into the foraging area on occasion.

 

There are currently 27 workers and 5 larvae.

 

It is somewhat difficult to feed them because the workers are so shy and skittish.  These are the least aggressive Formica I have ever encountered, usually the 2nd generation workers will at least guard the nest entrance, not run from a fruit fly...  The queen kills most of the live fruit flies in the nest, but the workers will collect small cut up pieces of insects if they are dumped right in the tubing entrance.

 

I love the coloration of this species.  Most local Formica with a red head and thorax are extremely aggressive, so I am being very careful to ensure they never escape.

Pretty messy in their nest though.  I think they are due for a move to a cleaner home.

 

 

October 10, 2014

DSC06952_zpsa3avo64n.jpg

 

 

March 31, 2015

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DSC07626_zps4xg6zrq2.jpg

 

 

June 13, 2015

DSC07669_zpsm5ad065d.jpg


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#2 Offline Crystals - Posted June 16 2015 - 8:02 AM

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There were no brood and the colony more or less stopped foraging.

 

These were put into hibernation on June 15th.

 

I will move them into a new nest when I take them out in several months.


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

 

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#3 Offline dermy - Posted June 16 2015 - 8:03 AM

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Will they be awake for a short period in the winter then?



#4 Offline Crystals - Posted June 16 2015 - 8:10 AM

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So far, all species I have kept know exactly how long their summer is supposed to be (well, except for Myrmcia and Aphaenogaster).  But they only need 3-5 months of hibernation.  So yes, this colony will be active for some time during winter.  I love reverse hibernation - I always have something active.  :D


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#5 Offline AntsAreUs - Posted October 6 2015 - 12:43 PM

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So far, all species I have kept know exactly how long their summer is supposed to be (well, except for Myrmcia and Aphaenogaster).  But they only need 3-5 months of hibernation.  So yes, this colony will be active for some time during winter.  I love reverse hibernation - I always have something active.  :D

How long to your ants stay active? I'm guessing about 6 months?



#6 Offline Crystals - Posted October 6 2015 - 1:49 PM

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My ants stay active for about as long as the "summer" was in the location the queen was from.  5-6 months in my location - Athabasca Alberta, 6-7 months at the very southern tip of Alberta (800km or so south, which is a fair bit warmer).


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

 

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#7 Offline klawfran3 - Posted October 8 2015 - 11:23 AM

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What do you hibernate your ants in? I'm guessing a wine cooler since a fridge would be too cold?


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#8 Offline Crystals - Posted October 8 2015 - 2:16 PM

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I use a wine cooler because the family refuses to let me use the fridge.  :D

Also, I can control the exact temperature and it has a glass door so I can just look through the door instead of opening it up to check on colonies.

 

Fridges can be set pretty warm, as can wine coolers.  It is just a matter of preference.

 

Mine hibernate at 8-14C depending on species.  My wine cooler is much colder up top than at the bottom.


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

 

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#9 Offline Crystals - Posted December 5 2015 - 1:47 PM

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I took this colony out in late October.  A few casualties over the winter, I only had 19 workers when I woke them up.

 

The queen has been laying quite a few eggs.  I did loose 2-3 more workers for no reason I could see between then and now.  I have two new callows, and more brood.

 

DSC08395_zpsesltrava.jpg

 

I love her colors...
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#10 Offline dermy - Posted December 5 2015 - 2:05 PM

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That queen is beautiful!


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#11 Offline Crystals - Posted February 26 2016 - 6:48 PM

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This queen was up to 30 workers and went into hibernation in January.


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

 

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#12 Offline Canadian anter - Posted March 19 2017 - 10:41 AM

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Update! You're over a year behind
Visit us at www.canada-ant-colony.com !

#13 Offline Crystals - Posted March 19 2017 - 12:40 PM

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I ended up giving this colony to a friend. Guess I forgot to update this journal.


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

 

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