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Rulkan the Newbie's Ants (D. Bureni, P. Megacephala, Brachymyrmex, Hypoponera, & Crematogaster)

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#1 Offline Rulkan - Posted November 14 2018 - 10:27 AM



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Hello everyone! Just started my journey to attempting to raise a few ant species in early October, however I've been watching and reading in a couple different places across the web. I thought I'd share my very minimal progress and update it when there are some more significant changes. Trying to get better at my pictures, so there will probably be a few bad ones along the way and hopefully later in the year they'll get better (especially with the purchase of a new lens). I hope you enjoy it.


Dorymyrmex Bureni


This is the first species of ant, that I was able to catch a queen of. She was caught on 10/23 late at night using a UV + sheet setup.



10/31 Update: She laid eggs and appeared to be taking care of them. From what I've read these guys seem more sensitive than some other species to vibrations and light, so I've kept my interactions down to just snapping a few quick pictures before putting her away.




11/3 Update: I've caught a few more D. Bureni, in addition to a couple others. Will update with pictures if requested or if something notable occurs.


11/7 Update: The original's eggs appear a slightly darker shade now and she is still tending to them. Her wings remain attached.





11/14 Update: We have larvae! She is also still laying a good number of eggs, which you can see in her mouth. The other Bureni queens, have also all laid eggs.







At the end she looked like a celebrity trying to block my paparazzi photos, so I let her be.




On 11/20, I checked on the other two Bureni and found that their eggs are getting darker and if the first is any indication, I could see larvae next week.





On 11/21, I checked on her and it appears that she has her first pupae. She is progressing closer and closer to her first worker!




11/24 & 11/26 Updates: The other bureni queens are progressing as well as the first. It appears that two of the three other bureni may have larvae now. I was also excited and interested to see that some of the queens have removed their wings, while the first, who is progressing well (see above update) has kept her wings. I'm wondering if the workers will help her remove them.




11/28 Update: The first queen has multiple pupae now with visible black eyes. I hope this means we could see a worker soon! She seemed very active today and was difficult to take a picture with in which she was in focus.





12/1 & 12/2 Update: The three additional Bureni queens are following the 'first's' suit. Two are without wings, while one still has her wings, similar to the 'first.'




12/5 UPDATE: She has workers! Truly the most exciting day of my short ant-keeping experience so far. I took a video and a bit more pictures than usual.





This video was taken in the morning almost immediately after they workers experienced their first light. Later on in the evening, when I checked them once more, they seemed to have calmed down a lot.


Edited by Rulkan, December 5 2018 - 7:15 PM.

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#2 Offline Rulkan - Posted November 14 2018 - 10:28 AM



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Pheidole Megacephala


On 11/5, there was quite a massive and unexpected nuptial flight of P. Megacephala (PM)When I went to check out the UV + sheet (which has since been slightly improved), I noticed approximately 50 to 60 PM queens.







11/12 Update: They have all started to lay eggs! Their wings remain.





On 11/18, checked on two of the three PM queens, appears to be more than eggs than before. I'm also noticing that these queens appear to be making their test tubes much dirtier than any of the other queens so far. Will update with pictures on Wednesday (11/21).


Updated with photos and a video on 11/21 (taken on 11/18 & 11/19)


Here is a video of one of the queen attempting to remove her wings. I found it quite interesting to watch her try and snag them with her legs.






11/26 Update: More pictures of the PM queens. Some appears to have more queens than previously, however no signs of larvae yet.





12/3 Update: I have five PM queens in test tube setups in total. All of the five are still progressing, but some are laying eggs at a much faster rate than the others. Some appear to have exploded in their egg counts, while others seem to remain the same.








Pheidole Floridana


On 10/30, I was able to find and catch one P. Floridana (PF) queen. She's absolutely beautiful looking.





11/6 Update: She still has her wings, but I believe she may have laid eggs in the cotton. I would've missed them, but I believe I had read someone mention here in this forum that they sometimes bury their eggs in the cotton. It's quite difficult to see it in person and even more difficult with my limited camera setup. I've edited one of the images to get a better shot at seeing them. They're in the lower left of the cotton.




11/13 Update: She has removed her wings and her eggs are a somewhat easier to spot now. The last picture gives you the best look at the eggs.





On 11/20, she looks well and active, but no sign yet of any larvae. I managed to find a better picture of her torn up wings.




11/27 Update: The queen appears to have much more eggs than she previously did. She has either nearly tripled the amount of eggs than the last time I looked at her or they are getting bigger and as a result, more noticeable. 






12/4 Update: It's hard to tell if much has changed considering how she places her eggs in a small dip in the cotton. It appears she may have a few more eggs, some larger than the others, but I cannot be sure of that.




Edited by Rulkan, December 5 2018 - 7:07 PM.

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#3 Offline Rulkan - Posted November 14 2018 - 10:31 AM



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On 11/4, I found this Brachymyrmex out on some sand in my yard, running around frantically. She measured in at about 4-5 mm.




Update 11/11: She hasn't laid any eggs, but I'm beginning to think she may not have mated. Thinking back on her capture, there was a heavy stream of ant movement somewhat nearby and she may have been a member of that colony that was moving to a new nest site. Hopefully this isn't the case and she will surprise me.





On 11/18, she still has no eggs and does not appear to be as active as she was before.


11/25 Update: I thought when I first examined her that she might have one egg or potentially even a larvae. However, when I examined previous photos of her, it appears that whatever may have been stuck on her wing was just on the glass beneath her. I'm not sure what the item is, perhaps a small clump of sand.







12/3 Update: The Brachymyrmex queen appears to be in the same state as previous updates. My first thought that she is not fertile, seems to be the case.






On 11/5, I caught a few Crematogaster queens that managed to find their way onto my UV+sheet. I nearly didn't catch them thinking they were leftover P. Megacephala from the previous night, but I'm glad I took a second look. These also might have been the most difficult to get a good picture of from the side or top. They absolutely loved to do continuous circles in the test tube.








11/12 Update: Most seem to have removed their wings and laid eggs. One of the queens (one who has removed her wings), appears a bit more inactive, but still has eggs.






On 11/19, the queens were checked on. They both appear healthy and active. Both are tending to their small clusters of eggs.






11/27 Update: The two queens seem to be progressing well. The one without her wings, now has a noticeable larvae out of her batch of eggs and perhaps one more close to that stage. While the other did not yet appear to have larvae, she was tending to them and some of them appeared much larger than last time.





11/4 Update: The two queens, with wings (W) and without (WO), appear to be progressing nicely. W seems to be further along than WO still. I'm looking forward to seeing their first workers.




Separate from my ants, I found this little gal on her own. I'm not sure how, what appears to be a nanite with a pupae, got separated from her hive. There is a great deal of big-headed ants around my home and I'm guessing that her colony may have been attacked.



Edited by Rulkan, December 5 2018 - 7:18 PM.

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#4 Offline Rulkan - Posted November 14 2018 - 12:07 PM



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Hypoponera and Odontomachus placeholder. (The Semi-Claustral Gals)




On 10/30, I caught my first Hypoponera queen on the UV+sheet. These gals, seem to be the most common and as of 11/14 I still find at least one on the UV+sheet when it's turned on. However, I've stopped catching them and have resided to only attempting to raise two at once, due to their semi-claustral nature. Additionally, considering the fact that these were the second ant species I found and that they are quite small, these photos are without a doubt, the most unfocused.





11/7 Update: One of the queens has removed her wings, no sign of eggs yet, but I'm thinking they may be difficult to find/see. One of the queens has made a tunnel of sorts into the cotton.




11/14 Update: No signs of eggs yet, but both queens wings are gone. They seem content in their food supply. The one who dug a tunnel, seems to have made a bit more work in it and I'm assuming that if she has laid eggs, I won't be able to see them because of this tunnel. I have the two in different types of setups. The one with the tunnel is in a setup that makes it more difficult to get good pictures than the other.




11/23 Update: The hypoponera queens have adjusted to their substrate differently. One has taken to it quickly and looks like she has started to make a better 'home' within it. The other seems content in her cotton 'home.'





11/26 Update: Unfortunately the one who seemed to be using the substrate more was found dead today. While a sad find, out of all the ants I have, the hypoponera seem the most 'fragile' and one's death is the least surprising. I've been experimenting with formicarium designs in prep. for the other ant queens and I think I will also try taking a stab at a better setup for semi-claustrals. Hopefully I'll be able to find some more hypoponera when it warms up a bit outside. Around my area, it's much colder than I can recall in the last few years I've spent in Florida.




Odontomachus Sp. (Relictus possibly) - (No Queen Found Yet)


In my front yard there are a few separate nests of Odontomachus, some of which have taken to nesting inside a couple of the palm trees there. I've not had the desire, nor would I dare to dig at one of the living trees to get a better look at those girls, so I've decided to observe those I find in the grass instead. Awhile back, I've noticed one of the groupings seems to cluster around a specific area, however I've yet to find anything that appears to be a nest entrance. The grass here is far more thick and tangled than the grass that I was used to in the Northeast. For the time being, I'm content in just watching them every now and then in this area and hoping that when it comes time for their nuptial flights, I'm able to find a queen, rather than searching for a nest in the grass.


Today there was more than an average amount of what appeared to be paper wasps in the air, many of which seemed to be dying, some on my driveway and fortunately for the trap jaws, in the grass as well. So I'm going to share the pictures I took of the trap jaws enjoying their gifts.




Also included a picture of one of the wasps.



Edited by Rulkan, November 28 2018 - 2:40 PM.

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#5 Offline ponerinecat - Posted November 14 2018 - 5:24 PM


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Give the hypoponera substrate, they will probably die without it or eat their eggs. If you find any cocoons or larvae, brood boost her as this species is hard to raise past the founding stage.

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#6 Offline Rulkan - Posted November 14 2018 - 8:39 PM



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Ok, will do.Thanks for the advice!

Edited by Rulkan, November 14 2018 - 10:38 PM.

#7 Offline Rulkan - Posted November 18 2018 - 2:12 PM



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Updated info on Brachymyrmex, Pheidole Megacephala, and added pictures of a wild Odontomachus Sp. in my yard. Pictures of the captive ants likely to come on Wednesday.

#8 Offline Rulkan - Posted November 21 2018 - 1:36 PM



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Updated with pictures and info on P. Megacephala, D. Bureni, Crematogaster, and P. Floridana.

#9 Offline DaveJay - Posted November 21 2018 - 9:01 PM


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Great journal, I look forward to updates, it makes good reading. :)

#10 Offline Rulkan - Posted November 28 2018 - 3:34 PM



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Updated all posts for the captive ants (P. Megacephala, P. Floridana, Brachymyrmex, D. Bureni, Crematogaster and Hypoponera). It appears I may soon see my first worker born into a test tube!

Edited by Rulkan, November 28 2018 - 3:34 PM.

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#11 Offline Rulkan - Posted December 5 2018 - 7:19 PM



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All claustral queens (P. Megacephala, P. Floridana, Brachymyrmex, D. Bureni, and Crematogaster) have been updated! My first queen has workers!

#12 Offline Manitobant - Posted January 8 2019 - 5:49 PM


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What kind of light do you use and what wattage is it?

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