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Greg's Solenopsis xyloni Journal (Discontinued)

fire ant solenopsis solenopsis xyloni journal

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#1 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 12 2014 - 12:19 AM

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August 12, 2014

 

Well, today I decided to start making journals. After about two hours of taking pictures of my queens for IDs, journals, and other important stuff, I opened the box with my Solenopsis xyloni queen from http://forum.formicu...anting-7092014/, about to write about her massive pile of brood, but still no workers, I look at her test tube, which had a slip of tape covering her, and I see a tiny ant rush out from under it, then back in. I pull the paper off, and there she is with about eight nanitics!!!  :yahoo:

 

Even though I have been into anting for a long time, this was the first time I experienced the excitement of seeing a queen with her first nanitics.

 

gallery_114_224_82329.jpg

 

gallery_114_224_65621.jpg


Edited by Gregory2455, February 20 2019 - 10:19 PM.


#2 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 12 2014 - 7:13 AM

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How long have you been into ants?



#3 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 12 2014 - 11:35 AM

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I started reading a lot and gaining knowledge a little bit under a year maybe, it was had to tell when I started the interest, I was always into ants. I know I didn't have even a single queen until this years major flights started. I was too late last year for any major flights, and still missed flights earlier this year like Messor and Camponotus.



#4 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 12 2014 - 4:56 PM

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I have moved their test tube into a foraging container, and fed them a termite alate. The nanitics very much enjoyed ripping its head off... Right now the test tube has no stopper or anything right now, which is probably making it a little bit uncomfortable for them, but I am trying to order some.



#5 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 21 2014 - 8:16 PM

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August 21, 2014

Mite Infestation

 

About a week ago, they were moved into a foraging container with then, sterile sand. I gave them sand because the test tube seemed to be too large for them, so it let them make a mini founding chamber inside the tube. As in the post above, I gave them three termite alates already, and a few other small foods. I checked the sand in the test tube today with a magnifier, it is SWARMING with little white mites. As far as I see, there are not any INSIDE the founding chamber, just by the small midden pile outside on top of the little moist sand chamber. They actually seem to be feeding/breeding on the midden pile. There are no mites on any of the ants, and seem to leave the ants alone. It is obvious that they came with the one termite alate that I forgot to refrigerate. Is this a non parasitic mite, or is it only parasitic to termites? Also, they seem large enough for the nanatics to probably be able to groom them off each other.

 

Update

I now see how Solenopsis colonies grow so fast. A few more workers have eclosed, leaving the colony with no more pupae, but there are 10-20 more very large, plump, and well fed larvae waiting to become pupa. The actually are going to become pupae at any time now they seem to be full size. The brood does not seem to have the mites either, but I am still looking.


Edited by Gregory2455, November 16 2014 - 11:28 PM.


#6 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 21 2014 - 10:40 PM

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Are you sure these are mites and not springtails?

#7 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 22 2014 - 7:36 AM

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I will look harder.



#8 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 22 2014 - 7:30 PM

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Ok, they are definitely mites. I gave the colony a piece of a meal worm a few days ago and now it is absolutely covered in mites that look like this, except white:

gallery_2_137_4902.jpg

 

There are still no visible mites on any of the ants or brood, I hope it stays that way too. They seem to stay on the carcasses and have no interest in the ants themselves.

They have now spread into every single foraging container that has a colony now, so all I can do is hope they will not hurt them.  :(

Its an awful feeling to think that all my colonies are possibly at the mercy of these things.



#9 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 22 2014 - 8:17 PM

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Never mind... Its all over, not for this colony, (the workers are probably smaller to groom the mites off) but a lot of the others I have.

 

The queen of another colony I have that just got workers now looks like this almost.

43c2618628c5e2a84cb69886f94198e140db6351

 

They are a larger species I haven't ID'd yet, why are the mites attracted to them but now my Solenopsis?



#10 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 22 2014 - 8:18 PM

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(The above picture is not mine, and is not the species it is, it was just a picture from the Yuku forum showing a similar scenario.)



#11 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 22 2014 - 8:43 PM

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Here are pictures of the piece of meal worm which became infested yesterday.

gallery_114_224_305125.jpg

gallery_114_224_246935.jpg



#12 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 22 2014 - 10:15 PM

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Currently I only see them attached to: the queen of the unidentified black species 

 

Because of their behavior, and how they are:

Only attracted to a queen ant.

Living on meal worm and other corpses.

Not attaching (back) onto Solenopsis xyloni queen.

Not attracted or attaching to workers.

The mites originated in the foraging container with the affected Solenopsis xyloni colony.

 

Leads me to think they are the type of mite that "stow away" on a queen, specifically favoring Solenopsis, on a nuptial flight to get to new land. The thing is, I am still unsure WHAT they do to  ‚Äčthe queen/colony once she lands, and whether it is still a threat, or if they leave, but by what I am seeing, they seem to have left the Solenopsis founding chamber for good and are only in the midden pile/walking around in the test tube. Now they got into the other foraging chamber and may think that queen is one that will take part in a nuptial flight? The said species of mite does also look like the ones in my problem. Keep in mind that this is just my current theory, I have very little knowledge about mites.



#13 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 23 2014 - 7:46 AM

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If they're all over dead insects, then I don't think they will be a problem. I have a lot of mites in my worm bin that sound similar to what you describe and like springtails and book lice, they only consume dead organic material, and are not parasitic.



#14 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 23 2014 - 9:34 AM

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Currently I only see them attached to: the queen of the unidentified black species 

 

If they're all over dead insects, then I don't think they will be a problem. I have a lot of mites in my worm bin that sound similar to what you describe and like springtails and book lice, they only consume dead organic material, and are not parasitic.

 

But I AM Seeing them attached to the bottom of the gaster of the larger black queen.



#15 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 23 2014 - 11:43 AM

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Hmm... Look to see if they're attached to areas in between their exoskeleton or any other soft fleshy areas. That's where parasitic mites seem to attach themselves in order to suck the hemolymph from the ant.



#16 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 23 2014 - 12:49 PM

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They are only on the bottom of her gaster, and there are a lot everywhere, but most of them are attached between two pieces of the exoskeleton.  :(



#17 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 23 2014 - 8:50 PM

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Oh.. bad sign.



#18 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 23 2014 - 8:51 PM

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Why are they only on the queen though, and why are they not on the Solenopsis xyloni at all?  :thinking:



#19 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 23 2014 - 9:16 PM

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No idea.



#20 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 23 2014 - 9:25 PM

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Oh well, we will see what happens...







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