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*discontinued* Ferox's Cyphomyrmex rimosus Journal (Updated July 18th, 2019)


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#1 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 23 2018 - 8:14 AM

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While over at my grandmothers house for Thanksgiving, I decided to flip over some rotting boards that were leaning against a higher area in here front yard. I flipped the first one, saw some Solenopsis invicta and some Monomorium minimum, but I also saw a Dekay's Snake. Next one, more of the same, minus the snake. The last one, the smallest one, the smallest one housed four ant colonies, a massive colony of Solenopsis molesta or a related species, a large colony of Monomorium minimum, a small colony of Nylanderia sp., but the only colony that interested me was a large colony of Cyphomyrmex rimosus. Of all the ants I could have seen hat day, that was one I had no clue I would find! Now I've seen this species before in my neighborhood, but I've only seen a few foraging workers, nothing else. I guess I was lucky! I came back to the garage to check for the queen, and there was no queen. Disappointed, I went back to check if I missed anything. I dug and found a few workers, but no fungus or anything. I pulled back another log that was next to this one, and I found another chamber! This one had lots and lots of fungus, more than the first chamber! I collected everything in this chamber and came back to look for the queen. I looked for a few minutes, and there she was! Small, but she still stood out against her daughters. I was good to go! When I got them home, I made them an out world out of an old soda bottle, I plan to use soda bottles for out worlds from now on. I used the old setup for my Camponotus castaneus colony for their nest with the first six chambers open plus their hydration chamber which was just a big cotton ball. I put the ants into the out world and shined a light over them, and within an hour, they were all moved in. Now to talk about their behaviors. When I found their nest, there were insect exoskeletons everywhere, and when they moved into their new nest, they brought the exoskeletons with them. It appears that they use them as food for their fungus. Ants in the Cyphomyrmex rimosus-species group cultivate yeast in its unicellular phase. I found that they use their saliva to attach it to the exoskeletons of insects, which the fungus feasts on. These ants appear to like very moist setting, preferring the wet cotton ball to nest on, which is why the photos are not the best, there is just so much condensation. I hope to find more things out about these ants. I am very excited to see how these ants do. I hope hey do well. Here are some pictures of them:

Formicarium Design
Nest Design
Nest Design 2
Out World Design
Cyphomyrmex rimosus Fungus Gardens
The fungus gardens.
Cyphomyrmex rimosus Fungus Gardens 2

 


Edited by Ferox_Formicae, July 18 2019 - 6:40 PM.

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#2 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 24 2018 - 5:00 PM

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The ants have set up elaborate fungus gardens with lots of dead insect parts in them. They are doing very well, and I have only noticed one death so far. They only forage occasionally, and only during the day. It's only when I put lights on them that they forage. It's strange as I have witnessed wild individuals foraging at night. They are still bringing back dead insect parts back to their nest that was from their wild nests soil. It's so cute watching them try and figure out how to step from the stick onto the smooth surface of the bottle. Sometimes they just give up and drop the part and run back into the nest. They are starting to stick the insect parts to the condensation on the ceiling as they run out of room. I have seen the queen out in the open only once, but she looks like she's doing good. This is definitely my favorite ant colony to date. Their incredible features in combination with their unique behaviors make these ants some of my favorites. I can only imagine what owning Trachymyrmex septentrionalis will be like. I plan on getting some better pictures of these girls and I am putting together a YouTube video on them.


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#3 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 25 2018 - 4:45 PM

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In the 24 hours that I have been away from my house, their fungus garden has grown substantially. I even saw the queen again! These ants are doing great, and I am going to feed them some honey tonight as they supplement their diets with nectar and tree sap. They should like some honey. I will also give them some more insect parts to bring back to their fungus. All-in-all, they are doing very well.


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#4 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 27 2018 - 4:37 PM

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I checked on them today to see that they are hibernating. Tonight it is supposed to get down to 28 degrees F, so I will have to give them extra cover to insure their survival. I cannot let these girls die. It would be a death on par with the death of my Strumigenys louisianae. I will check on them tomorrow morning to make sure they are okay.


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#5 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 28 2018 - 7:52 AM

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I covered them with a towel last night and pinned it down with some board to keep the wind from blowing the towel away. The towel didn't keep them warm enough however, as the condensation on the ceiling of their nest had formed into ice crystals. I'm not sure if they alive or not. Their neighboring colony, my Colobopsis impressa were fine however, so I suspect that they are okay. I will check on them later to make sure they are okay. I will be heartbroken if they didn't make it.


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#6 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted November 28 2018 - 8:35 AM

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Never ever hibernate ants outside. It is the worst thing you can possibly do.
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#7 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 28 2018 - 12:36 PM

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Never ever hibernate ants outside. It is the worst thing you can possibly do.

I have no other option. I am currently staying at my aunts house, and she will not allow me to keep my ants inside and she doesn't have a crawlspace or a basement, so that was my best bet when I get back to my house, I will put them into my basement.


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#8 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 28 2018 - 2:24 PM

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The ants are no moving and I think they may be dead. That doesn't make much sense however as all of the other ants I had next to them were doing just fine. They may just still be cold. I'll have to try and warm them up.


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#9 Offline Wa.Va - Posted November 29 2018 - 8:28 AM

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The ants are no moving and I think they may be dead. That doesn't make much sense however as all of the other ants I had next to them were doing just fine. They may just still be cold. I'll have to try and warm them up.


I think there is a small chance, once heated they will crawl again. Well, i really have hope.

#10 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 29 2018 - 3:15 PM

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It got even colder last night. I checked on them after school today, and they were alive! They were slowly moving their fungus around. I'm glad they're okay.


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#11 Offline Nare - Posted November 29 2018 - 3:33 PM

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I'd toyed with the idea of putting my ants in a cooler and putting that in a hole outside (soil on top is optional, you'd probably wanna keep it ventilated though) to try and insulate them. If you can't keep yours inside, it's worth a try. Even keeping them in a garage would be better than outside. Don't want to lose such a rare species. Any new pics btw?


Edited by Nare, November 29 2018 - 3:34 PM.

I keep termites - check them out! I've also made a guide...


#12 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 29 2018 - 5:12 PM

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I'd toyed with the idea of putting my ants in a cooler and putting that in a hole outside (soil on top is optional, you'd probably wanna keep it ventilated though) to try and insulate them. If you can't keep yours inside, it's worth a try. Even keeping them in a garage would be better than outside. Don't want to lose such a rare species. Any new pics btw?

I'll try and do that. I do have some new pictures of them. I'll post them soon. And yes, I certainly don't want to loose them. Also, what I am currently doing is working pretty well. I have had no fatalities and all of the ants have been waking up during the day to forage, and hibernating at night. It is going to be warming up, and I am going back to my house on Saturday.


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#13 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted November 30 2018 - 10:28 PM

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I saw the queen today. She's doing okay. So now I know the colony's gonna be okay. I have given them a crumpled up dead cricket for their fungus. Pictures coming soon.


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#14 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted December 4 2018 - 4:13 AM

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There was recently a massive die-off. I think about half of the colony is dead. They have also decided to move under the cotton ball, so I can no longer fully see them.


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#15 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted December 5 2018 - 8:20 AM

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I saw one of the workers carrying the queen in her jaws. She wasn't moving, and I suspect she is dead. I hope she isn't. I'm glad I've had this colony though so I could study their behaviors. I am not ending this journal however as I am not sure if she is fully dead. I will keep an eye on them. If she is dead however, I will still keep the colony and hope that next spring I find an alate so I can introduce her to the colony so it can continue on.


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#16 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted December 10 2018 - 8:09 PM

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The colony is doing pretty well, although their queen is for sure dead. I have given them a banana to supplement their diet with as this species does not exclusively eat their fungus. They seem to enjoy it, and several of them are eagerly lapping up the juices left on the ground. They have moved their fungus gardens under the cotton ball, so I am not able to see them, but I am going to be getting them a new formicarium with hydrostone. It have to be a rather large as this colony is still rather large, having a few dozen individuals. I am very excited to get their formicarium ready and I already have some sketches laid out.


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#17 Offline AnthonyP163 - Posted December 11 2018 - 3:08 PM

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From what I've heard, banana kills ants. 



#18 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted December 11 2018 - 4:33 PM

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From what I've heard, banana kills ants. 

I hope not! I fed some to all of my colonies! All of the ans seem to be doing fine at the moment however, and I haven't seen any unusual behavior or deaths. The only ant death I've seen was from one of my Camponotus castaneus workers that was already dying. I will keep a close eye on all of my ants.


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#19 Offline AnthonyP163 - Posted December 11 2018 - 4:48 PM

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I can't find multiple sources verifying this, though, the only one I could find was this: https://www.henriett...96/ants-1.html 

 

Probably isn't too reliable, but enough to take caution.



#20 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted December 11 2018 - 11:14 PM

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I am currently working on a new nest for these ants using something that's similar to Styrofoam until I can get some hydrostone. I have already carved out the chambers and painted the whole thing. Now, I just need to connect an out world and cover the nest with a plastic sheet. I will post pictures when I am finished.


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