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Straywolf94's Pogonomyrmex Californicus journal 2018

pogonomyrmex californicus

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#1 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted November 3 2018 - 8:04 PM

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So I caught maybe 21 P. Californicus queens in San Diego on 7/5/18.  Have not had much time to put together a journal so here it is.  Also found 2 Pogonomyrmex subnitidus (?) which I couldn't tell apart from the californicus until they started fighting with each other.  Separated the two subnitidus queens into a separate formicarum.

 

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I started them out in Nurbs test tube formicarium setups with some dirt, but found the queens kept trying to dig in the dirt, and were always skittish to any light, vibration, etc.  I guess you really have to leave them alone for a month.  So I started coming up with different formicarium setups in this thread: 

 

http://www.formicult...g-formicariums/

 

The queens were polygynous so I moved 2 queens each into 2 picture frame vertical dirt setups, and 2 queens each into 4 round dirt containers.  The pogonomyrmex subnitidus queens were moved into a separate round dirt box.

 

Week of 7/11/18:

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That left 9 queens in the nurbs formicarium.

 

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The round containers initially worked well, but they grew out of it quickly.  I also found that there was no visibility since the dirt width was about 3/4" and not much foraging area at the top.

 

I accidentally built the picture frame setups a little too thick as well (0.65" - 0.75" width) so could not see much going on.

 

8/15/2015:  I decided to consolidate the 3 nurbs style formicariums since the queens got along fine, and minimize maintenance.  I was also hoping, doing so would speed up the colony development speed.  At this point, between all 9 queens, they had quite a lot of brood, and were constantly trying to dig into the dirt outside the formicarium.  Sometimes, I would find all the brood hidden in the dirt, then next day, they got moved to the crack between the test tubes.  They definitely do not like the environment and constant light and vibration disturbances in the garage.

 

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9/5/18:  

So I finally decided to build a third vertical dirt ant nest between two picture frames to the correct dimensions to move the 9 queens to. The dirt is packed into a 1/2" between two glass panes which are held together by clips. There is a tube on the side which allows me to water the base made of hydrostone to keep the nest hydrated every 2 weeks. I figured the fastest way to relocate them was to dump them onto the top of the new formicarium and let them sort themselves out. By now, the 9 queens from this setup had maybe about 10-12 workers. Some of the workers immediately started tunneling into the dirt to make a new nest, while others collected all the scattered brood into a pile, while others still went to work excavating any brood that got buried when they were dumped in. Was very interesting to watch!

One queen was found dead on the surface a few days later, so only 8 queens left in this nest.

 

 

 

10/05/18 update:

The round dirt boxes weren't working out, so I went to Container store and got some almac boxes.  Built some drew style large dirt boxes and moved 2 pogonomyrmex colonies and one subnitidus colony (which only had 1 queen left, 2nd queen died) into the large drew style dirt boxes.  The other two round dirt boxes weren't doing very well, and they died off.

 

 

 

10/27/18 Update:  Its been about 3 weeks since the queens were moved into the large dirt shacks.  They have their nest entrance closed up most of the time, but today saw them out foraging.

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10/30/18 Update:  It's been about 45 days since the 8 pogonomyrmex queens got moved to my third vertical dirt picture frame setup.  This setup was built with only 0.5" width between the glass, so it allowed much better viewing of the colony nest.  It probably also helped that the colony was polygynous so grew very quickly.  I had to attach a foraging ground to allow them to keep up with the food they needed to feed all that brood.  I've been feeding them dried cricket and mealworm bits, along with various seeds.  They seem to prefer just the poppy and kentucky bluegrass seed at this point.  Very rarely saw them taking any other seed like nyjer seed, sunflower seed, or flax seeds.  They actually love dried cricket leg pieces the most, and hardly touch the dried mealworm bits.

 

 

 

 

11/02/18 update:  My other two vertical setups seem to be doing ok, but due to them being only 1-2 queens, their colony size is small and they are burried/hidden better in the 0.75" dirt.  Very rarely see them out, but today they were out foraging in force, and caught them trying to get this huge chunk of cricket into their nest entrance:

 


Edited by Straywolf94, November 4 2018 - 5:05 PM.

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#2 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted November 3 2018 - 9:56 PM

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My current setup in the garage :)

 

dibV2Zr.jpg


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#3 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted November 4 2018 - 7:11 AM

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Jealous of the huge colony, awesome!

#4 Offline Rstheant - Posted November 4 2018 - 2:27 PM

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Love the colony. Please update. Good luck.

#5 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted June 4 2019 - 7:05 PM

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I parted with the 8 queen colony as well as some dirt shacks a while back.  But I moved my one remaining 2 queen colony from the dirt shack into the picture frame setup.  They have been doing really well.  This evening I caught a glimpse of a female alate running around the feeding area.  Good to see colony is doing well enough to get alates after just one year!  I would guess there are around 200-300 ants in the colony now... hard to say.

 

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Edited by Straywolf94, June 4 2019 - 7:30 PM.


#6 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted June 4 2019 - 7:36 PM

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I also seem to have a rogue dark rover ant colony that escaped its original nest and are now co-habitating with my pogonomyrmex near their watering hole.  Aparantly, they are doing quite well too as they think today is a day to fly.

 

DrpDh42.jpg


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#7 Offline ponerinecat - Posted June 5 2019 - 10:36 AM

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tapinoma sessile



#8 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted June 5 2019 - 10:37 AM

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No, those are Linepithema humile.

#9 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted June 5 2019 - 3:43 PM

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Brachymyrmex Patagonicus. I had them identified last year, kept them in a box setup but they escaped and nested in the dirt cohabitating with my pogonomyrmex.

Edited by Straywolf94, June 5 2019 - 3:43 PM.

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#10 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted July 27 2019 - 10:52 PM

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Should I add Costco rotisserie chicken, pork jerkey, watermelon to the list of preferred food by species?  I think this colony has gotten big enough that they will devour anything.  They also seem to love freshly killed crickets - though I have to cut off the cricket legs so I don't have Pogonomyrmex flying across the room every feeding. :)

 

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#11 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted July 27 2019 - 10:57 PM

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Building a 20gallon dirt shack for their new home.  They've turned picture frame formicarium into swiss cheese and need more room to grow.

 

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#12 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted July 27 2019 - 10:58 PM

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Moving day...  There's lots of tubing and connections.. bear with it - it will get cleaned up.

 

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#13 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted July 27 2019 - 11:00 PM

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Now that the heat lamp is pointing to the top of the soil, I noticed they are stacking their brood right under it.  I tried to build a makeshift solarium for them, but they don't seem interested yet.

 

https://youtu.be/QbbzMqDJMpE

 

 

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Edited by Straywolf94, July 27 2019 - 11:17 PM.

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#14 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted July 27 2019 - 11:07 PM

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This is the 3rd alate I've seem come out of the nest.  I feel bad for them since they aren't going to fly and end up being harassed and slowly dismembered by their sisters.

 

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#15 Offline Silq - Posted July 28 2019 - 5:10 PM

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I just got 23 p. californicus queens. I was told that they breed well in groups but after they have workers, the workers would kill off the other queens until one would remain. Did you experience this or are all the queens co-habitating without problems? I separated the majority of mine and had a few grouped so I will find out in the coming months/weeks but it would be nice if they could all be in 1 large super colony.


Ant Journal: http://www.formicult...-journal/<br> My colonies: C. Semitestaceus, P. Californicus, V. Pergandei, S. Xyloni.


#16 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted July 28 2019 - 10:00 PM

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The ones I got seem to be polygynous. I atually had two picture frame nests with 3 queens each. One nest did better than the other, so I tried to consolidate them and connected the nests together. They ended up waging war and the larger colony (100 plus workers) dug out all 3 queens from the smaller colony (10ish workers) and killed them. So all 3 queens from the smaller colony were still in there after a couple of months with 15+ workers and brood.  I'm assuming the larger colony still has 2 to 3 queens, but I haven't caught glimpse of them yet.


Edited by Straywolf94, July 29 2019 - 7:46 AM.


#17 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted July 31 2019 - 8:25 PM

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I think this colony is pretty much all.moved into the tank by now. They are backfilling and burying the chambers they used to inhabit in the picture frame. The colony is 13 months old now and I think between 500 to 1000 workers. I heard the 8 queen colony i sold which was founded at the same time is at 1000+ and doing well. Here is a video of them feasting on some cooked shrimp.



#18 Offline Straywolf94 - Posted July 31 2019 - 9:28 PM

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I caught 4 more of these queens this year and put them together into a test tube setup inside a boxbox formicarium.  They laid a pile of eggs pretty quickly.  One of the queens died a few days later, so 3 queens left.

 

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I took the opportunity to snatch some sunbathing pupae from the larger colony and brood boosted the new colony.  They eagerly accepted the new brood.

 

 

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Edited by Straywolf94, July 31 2019 - 9:29 PM.

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#19 Offline super_oil - Posted August 1 2019 - 12:34 AM

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I'm a bit late to this but your garage setup looks very clean and awesome.


Just a little boy that likes ants. I try my best to be mature and competent.

 

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#20 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted August 1 2019 - 7:01 AM

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So are P. californicus fully claustral?

Edited by Kaelwizard, August 1 2019 - 7:01 AM.

IMG 0897 (2)
IMG 0895 (2)

 






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