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Cyphomyrmex minutus colony


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#1 Offline Wedge - Posted December 28 2018 - 4:56 PM

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Hello all. I just wanted to share a couple colonies of Cyphomyrmex minutus I've been keeping since early this summer. I was replacing some wooden boards around my garden that had begun to rot and while pulling them up came across two of these colonies.  They were laid out perfectly between boards and to be honest I wasn't 100% sure what they were, but I ran inside and grabbed something to gather them in.  I put them in large plastic containers with some foil wrapped test tube set ups sitting inside hoping that they would congregate in the dark test tubes and sure enough they did.  I looked them up and when I realized what they were was immediately skeptical of whether or not I would be able to keep them successfully as I had never kept a fungus growing species.  When I took a closer look at the ants in the test tubes I saw the yellow piles of yeast granules separate from the brood pile so I knew I had collected their fungus farm and had hope that I would be able to keep them. I searched this forum for everything I could find and thankfully had some plaster sitting around so the following pictures are what I was able to cobble together that afternoon to put them in and I am glad to say they have been doing pretty good for the past several months. 

 

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I have a cardboard sleeve that keeps them dark most of the time but I removed it for the photos.  I plan on making them a nicer out world, but this is what they have been in since I collected them and I've kept it this way for simplicity sake until I was sure they were doing well.  I've been giving them hornworm droppings which they take readily and feeding them honey. You can see some of their garden on the right of the entrance in the second picture.

 

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They tend to keep the brood pile separate from the yeast and frass but sometimes they mix them up.  You can see a few pupae here wedged in next to a piece of hornworm poop.  I see a few "sheep" individuals in the colony that are covered in white bacteria that have the antimicrobial properties for their fungal garden. These pupae seem to have that same while film on them and I wonder if the ants move these pupae around to help sanitize things.
 
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And lastly a picture of the queen sitting on her brood pile.  It takes me a while to spot her sometimes because she is not as differentiated from the workers as in C. rimosus but she tromps around much more authoritatively than everyone else and I find that to be the easiest way to find her.

 

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I know I've got a few photos on my phone of right after I got them in the test tubes that I'll try and find and upload later.  I'll also try and take some more photos of the other colony and post them and give an update when I give them a nicer out world but I wanted to share these for now. Hope you all enjoy!

 

 


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Current Colonies:

Camponotus floridanus

Cyphomyrmex minutus

Cyphomyrmex rimosus

Odontomachus brunneus

Pheidole floridana

Pheidole metallescens

Pheidole moerens

Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Pseudomyrmex pallidus


#2 Offline Aaron567 - Posted December 28 2018 - 5:10 PM

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Cool setup! I've tried to keep my local Cyphomyrmex rimosus before and it has never worked out because I can't keep their setup dry enough. It looks like what you build works very well. I may have to copy this ;)

 

I also find it interesting that the yeast grown by your colony is white. The yeast produced by the Cyphomyrmex in my area has a pale orange color.



#3 Offline Manitobant - Posted December 28 2018 - 8:31 PM

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So jealous! I’ve always wanted a fungus grower but we sadly don’t have those in Canada...

#4 Offline Wedge - Posted December 31 2018 - 1:37 PM

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Thanks Aaron! The set up did seem a bit too wet initially and the ants that did move into it at first seemed lethargic like their feet were sticking to the plaster itself. I thought it might also be some residual oil in the plaster that I used to help it slide out of the mold, but adding some dry coco fiber in their outworld really seemed to be the secret. They almost immediately started moving it into the nest and it created kind of a buffer for them to walk on and within an hour they were completely moved in, brood, fungus farm, and all.

Also the color of the yeast changes with the color of the caterpillar droppings I give them. Dark green makes it the most yellow and that's the way the wild colonies are around here too.
  • Aaron567 likes this

Current Colonies:

Camponotus floridanus

Cyphomyrmex minutus

Cyphomyrmex rimosus

Odontomachus brunneus

Pheidole floridana

Pheidole metallescens

Pheidole moerens

Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Pseudomyrmex pallidus


#5 Offline Wedge - Posted January 4 2019 - 9:06 PM

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Here are a few pictures of when I first collected them.

 

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I know in one of these images you can see the queen but she is almost impossible to find. I spent forever staring at this tube to make sure I had found her.


Current Colonies:

Camponotus floridanus

Cyphomyrmex minutus

Cyphomyrmex rimosus

Odontomachus brunneus

Pheidole floridana

Pheidole metallescens

Pheidole moerens

Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Pseudomyrmex pallidus


#6 Offline Wedge - Posted January 4 2019 - 11:21 PM

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So I finally moved my other colony into their permanent setup.  They have been in there for about a week now and seem to be doing well.  Their fungus farm has grown a bit and I put some crushed up beetle wings in their out world that they pulled in and added to their nest. They had been in the new nest for a few days with their old out world, but when I added the new one a flurry of activity erupted.  A ton of ants came out to inspect it and I was surprised to see even the queen came out to give it a quick look. Here are a few pictures and short videos I was able to take on my phone of them when they first moved in.

 

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This last one shows the queen before she ran back into the nest.
 
Cypho queen

 


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Current Colonies:

Camponotus floridanus

Cyphomyrmex minutus

Cyphomyrmex rimosus

Odontomachus brunneus

Pheidole floridana

Pheidole metallescens

Pheidole moerens

Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Pseudomyrmex pallidus


#7 Offline CoolColJ - Posted January 5 2019 - 1:15 AM

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Sweet looking outworld :)


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Current ant colonies -
1) Opisthopsis Rufithorax (strobe ant), Melophorus sp2. black and orange
Pheidole antipodum colonies...  Polyrhachis rufifemur, Camponotus suffusus bendingesis, Camponotus nigriceps, Myrmecia fulvipes, Colobopsis macrocephala
Journal = http://www.formicult...ra-iridomyrmex/

Heterotermes cf brevicatena termite pet/feeder journal = http://www.formicult...feeder-journal/

#8 Offline Wedge - Posted January 6 2019 - 7:24 AM

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Thanks! The nest and outworld were both made out of plastic card cases which just seemed like the perfect size.


Current Colonies:

Camponotus floridanus

Cyphomyrmex minutus

Cyphomyrmex rimosus

Odontomachus brunneus

Pheidole floridana

Pheidole metallescens

Pheidole moerens

Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Pseudomyrmex pallidus


#9 Offline Wedge - Posted January 8 2019 - 5:58 PM

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I took a peak at the colony in the column nest the other day and they seem to be doing great! They have a ton of pupae laid out in one section that I was excited to see and a good pile of eggs and larvae that the queen was going back and forth between. I finally connected them to their new outworld and they were so excited to see it they immediately came out in droves to explore it. I'll try and post some video soon once I can get it all uploaded but here are some of the pictures I got for now.

 

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You can see the queen really well in these.
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Edited by Wedge, January 8 2019 - 6:07 PM.

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Current Colonies:

Camponotus floridanus

Cyphomyrmex minutus

Cyphomyrmex rimosus

Odontomachus brunneus

Pheidole floridana

Pheidole metallescens

Pheidole moerens

Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Pseudomyrmex pallidus


#10 Offline Wedge - Posted January 8 2019 - 6:55 PM

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Here are some videos I was able to get of them checking out their new outworld.

 

 

 

 


Edited by Wedge, January 8 2019 - 8:12 PM.

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Current Colonies:

Camponotus floridanus

Cyphomyrmex minutus

Cyphomyrmex rimosus

Odontomachus brunneus

Pheidole floridana

Pheidole metallescens

Pheidole moerens

Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Pseudomyrmex pallidus


#11 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted January 10 2019 - 10:29 AM

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You are lucky to have such a nice sized and healthy colony! I had a colony of C. rimosus a few months ago, but the queen ended up dying and I had planned on finding another one this spring to introduce to the colony, but the workers had a massive die off and I ended up just releasing them all. I do want to collect another colony though, and I know where one is, or the general area, so, next spring I'll try to find them.


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#12 Offline Wedge - Posted January 10 2019 - 12:56 PM

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Good luck finding them! I've seen their colonies spread out between rotten wood and the ground and then I've also found them very compact in a couple of small pits right next to each other underneath fallen branches or wood. Hopefully the ones you find are in a tight group that you can grab easily.  I've noticed that sometimes if you don't see brood right away, it is hidden away in a lower pit under or adjacent to their fungus garden under something like a leaf or thin piece of wood.  I had seen these in the parks around here but was super surprised to find them in my backyard.  It is drier than the kind of place I would expect to find them in and really sandy.  What kind of set up were you keeping them in? I'm curious to get different ideas for the future. I don't see many posts about these but I see people mention that they have them. 


Current Colonies:

Camponotus floridanus

Cyphomyrmex minutus

Cyphomyrmex rimosus

Odontomachus brunneus

Pheidole floridana

Pheidole metallescens

Pheidole moerens

Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Pseudomyrmex pallidus


#13 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted January 10 2019 - 8:13 PM

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Good luck finding them! I've seen their colonies spread out between rotten wood and the ground and then I've also found them very compact in a couple of small pits right next to each other underneath fallen branches or wood. Hopefully the ones you find are in a tight group that you can grab easily.  I've noticed that sometimes if you don't see brood right away, it is hidden away in a lower pit under or adjacent to their fungus garden under something like a leaf or thin piece of wood.  I had seen these in the parks around here but was super surprised to find them in my backyard.  It is drier than the kind of place I would expect to find them in and really sandy.  What kind of set up were you keeping them in? I'm curious to get different ideas for the future. I don't see many posts about these but I see people mention that they have them. 

I had them in a plastic container with a few chambers and a hydration chamber. I wanted to get them in a plaster setup, but I got the plaster too late. I have a journal on them if you want to check it out.


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