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Camponotus workers attacking a larva from their own colony?

camponotus quercicola

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7 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Spencer70 - Posted April 3 2019 - 3:50 PM

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Hi all,

 

I have a small colony of Camponotus quercicola. There is one queen, nine workers, six developed larvae (late instar), and 8 recently laid eggs, about 2 days old. Today, when taking a peek at them in their plastic hybrid nest, 4 to 6 of the adult workers appeared to be aggressively biting at and tugging upon one larva, but I wasn't observing any actual cutting. Mandibles were actively opening and closing on the larva's exoskeleton.

 

Is this behavior common? Do they sometimes turn on a larva to destroy it?  It was really upsetting to watch, but so far I'm not seeing any damage (yet). This looks a lot more aggressive than simply cleaning and feeding the larva.

 

I am new to this hobby, having started with my first colony in February, so I know there's a lot to learn. This behavior today is new to me. Video is below:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=hGCwHjN4p9w and https://www.youtube....h?v=iy3kthLZt1I


Edited by Spencer70, April 3 2019 - 7:52 PM.

Spencer Holmes

Brentwood, Calif.

 

Just starting in this hobby...

One Camponotus quercicola colony

One Liometopum occidentale colony


#2 Offline LC3 - Posted April 3 2019 - 8:19 PM

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Huh that's really weird. It could be that they're trying to move the thing and failing. Although ants will infact kill their larva and the triggers range from unideal conditions or unwanted larva (i.e alate larva).


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Colonies

Spoiler

 

 


#3 Offline Rstheant - Posted April 3 2019 - 8:19 PM

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One, plastic is not a good material to keep ants in. Second, the ants might be killing the larva because they don’t have enough food. This is from my personal experience, and I see no reason I can't apply to yours too. Try feeding them more, and probably get a better nest if possible.

Good luck!! (y)

#4 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted April 4 2019 - 7:08 AM

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My Camponotus chromaiodes colony of 200 workers kills especially large larvae too. They do it most likely because they are alate larvae.
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#5 Offline Scherme - Posted April 4 2019 - 8:27 AM

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I agree that is upsetting to watch, but could be completely normal behavior. 

 

I that the AC camponotus hybrid nest?


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#6 Offline Karma - Posted April 22 2019 - 9:23 PM

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Same thing happened to my small colony of Camponotus herculeanus, which I am keeping in an AC hybrid nest. It should be known that keeping ants in plastic is generally not a good idea but the type in the AC hybrid nest as well as acrylic are perfectly fine. People often forget that ants will nest almost anywhere in any material (in many places in a house or building for eg) and this is a generalization but is true for most ants as long as the humidity/moisture and temperature are to their liking.

 

My colony attacked and killed the two largest larvae (at the time there was 5 larvae total). I have been leaving plenty of food in the out-world everyday so I am assuming it is not that but perhaps what Ant_Dude2908 suggested in that they accidentally fed these larvae too much and they developed into alate larvae. This or the larvae just failed to develop correctly (failed to spin its cocoon) maybe due to bad humidity or just genetics.

 

Another reason to rule out not enough food is because since they are the largest larvae, they have clearly received plenty of food and if the ants did not have any more food to give them, the larvae would simply pupate and begin spinning a cocoon. Normally I would assume if the ants were low on food they would eat the larvae as a source of protein, however in my case they just placed the larvae in the garbage pile and have not touched them since so I think I will rule out the hunger theory.

 

I will be on the lookout for more of this behavior and if I can determine the right cause I'll be sure to post it here.


Edited by Karma, April 23 2019 - 8:28 AM.

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#7 Offline ANTndonesia - Posted April 28 2019 - 4:25 AM

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This is normal.
Ants do this if larvae indicate that it is developing into a queen at the wrong time which would be using colony resources for no reason.

So when worker ants detect a nascent queen at the wrong time, they chew on it, literally. The stress induced by biting the larva induces the larva to develop as a worker.
A specific pheromone tell them which larvae will be the queens.

This happened several times in my Polyrhachis dives. colony.


Edited by ANTndonesia, April 28 2019 - 4:28 AM.

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Polyrhachis dives. I 5 Queens, 83 Workers. << This colony keep biting and pulling 2 of their queens from the nest, so i decided to get them out. P. Dives III and P. Dives IV.

Polyrhachis dives. II 1 Queen, 16 Workers. First egg February 12th 2019.
Polyrhachis dives. III 1 Queen, First egg May 15th 2019.
Polyrhachis dives. IV 1 Unfertilized Queen.


#8 Offline Spencer70 - Posted May 20 2019 - 4:56 PM

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Just a follow up, I have notched up the food provided, and since the original post, three workers emerged from their pupae. I think one or two were consumed, even though I didn't think I was underfeeding them. Today there are about 20 eggs, and perhaps a dozen or so larvae of different stages of development. I'll keep up with the food offerings, and I am also not lifting the lid in the AC hybrid nest. I have taped red cellophane over the glass so it blocks out some light. Except for late evening check every few days, I do not lift the lid. 


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Spencer Holmes

Brentwood, Calif.

 

Just starting in this hobby...

One Camponotus quercicola colony

One Liometopum occidentale colony






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