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Ferox's Colobopsis mississippiensis Journal! (Updated June 4th, 2019)


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#1 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 25 2019 - 8:10 PM

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In my neighbor's yard is a decently sized White Ash Tree, a tree that is often home to an ant that is starting to disappear as these trees are driven to the brink of extinction, as this is the only place these ants can make their nests, Colobopsis mississippiensis. I wanted to climb this tree and see if there were possibly any inside of it's branches, but it wasn't going to be an easy feat. There were about 15 feet between the base of the tree and it's first limb, and I would have to scale that if I wanted to get up into that tree. It also didn't make it any easier that I'm a very weak person. I built up some strength and started to climb, slowly and painfully. I finally got to the first limb and grappled onto it as tight as I could. I had completely run out of strength at that point, so I decided to let go. I fell down with a crash to the forest floor, breathing heavily. After a few minutes of rebuilding my strength, I was ready to try again, so I did. This time I brought my leg over the limb and rested on it like an iguana would. After a few minutes of panting and sweating profusely, I stood up and started breaking off all of the dead branches I could find. In one, there was a colony of Pseudomyrmex ejectus. I dropped out of the tree and brought all of the sticks to my driveway to crack open. I started to collect that colony of Pseudomyrmex ejectus, when I noticed that there was something different about the end of the small stick. I looked in and saw the distinctive head of a Colobopsis major, and a Colobopsis mississippiensis at that! I dumped the Pseudomyrmex ejectus workers out of my aspirator and started to collect the Colobopsis mississippiensis colony instead. I then realized that the "major" was actually a queen! A worker also came out, along with an egg and 4 pupa. There was surprisingly a major though, who was starting to run off. I'm very surprised at the presence of this major, and it makes me think that there's more to this colony that I haven't found yet. I also managed to find a queen tonight, but she sadly died for no apparent reason. Tomorrow, I'm going back up into that tree to search for the rest of that colony, and hopefully I find them.


Edited by Ferox_Formicae, June 4 2019 - 6:50 PM.

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#2 Offline 123LordOfAnts123 - Posted May 25 2019 - 8:21 PM

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Majors are produced very early in a colonies lifespan - they have job to do guarding the nest entrance. Until one arrives, the queen must take up the task.

When happy, colonies grow fast and are best kept in as small of a diameter nest (2-3mm inner diameter) as possible. Nest interior can and should be kept bone dry. Workers must have access to fresh water which they will transport as needed. Nests grow to 100-150 workers before focusing remaining production on alates.

Edited by 123LordOfAnts123, May 25 2019 - 8:23 PM.

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#3 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 25 2019 - 9:34 PM

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Majors are produced very early in a colonies lifespan - they have job to do guarding the nest entrance. Until one arrives, the queen must take up the task.

When happy, colonies grow fast and are best kept in as small of a diameter nest (2-3mm inner diameter) as possible. Nest interior can and should be kept bone dry. Workers must have access to fresh water which they will transport as needed. Nests grow to 100-150 workers before focusing remaining production on alates.

I will be keeping them inside of a hollowed out White Ash stick with a plastic sheet in front for visibility purposes. I am very surprised that the queen produced a major as quick as she did though, springing from a minor to already producing a major. More minors will be eclosing soon, however.


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#4 Online ANTdrew - Posted May 26 2019 - 2:01 AM

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If this species is near extinction, should you have removed a successful breeding colony from the wild?

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25


#5 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 26 2019 - 2:23 AM

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If this species is near extinction, should you have removed a successful breeding colony from the wild?

I'm not entirely sure if the species is near extinction, I just know that their host tree is due to the Emerald Ash Borer.


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#6 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 26 2019 - 3:37 AM

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I went back up into that tree and got yet another colony, larger this time with about 30 workers. I also managed to find a dealate queen sitting on a leaf. I guess these ants aren't rare, they're just hard to get to, like Arboreal Pine Katydids, which are only found high up in pine trees. They were discovered over 200 years ago, and since then, less than 40 individuals have been discovered, one of which was by me. B)


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#7 Online ANTdrew - Posted May 26 2019 - 5:12 AM

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Why not get a good ladder and enjoy them in their natural habitat? Good luck with the ones you collected.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25


#8 Offline Acutus - Posted May 26 2019 - 7:00 AM

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 I wanted to climb this tree and see if there were possibly any inside of it's branches, but it wasn't going to be an easy feat. There were about 15 feet between the base of the tree and it's first limb, and I would have to scale that if I wanted to get up into that tree. It also didn't make it any easier that I'm a very weak person. I built up some strength and started to climb, slowly and painfully. I finally got to the first limb and grappled onto it as tight as I could. I had completely run out of strength at that point, so I decided to let go. I fell down with a crash to the forest floor, breathing heavily. After a few minutes of rebuilding my strength, I was ready to try again, so I did. This time I brought my leg over the limb and rested on it like an iguana would. After a few minutes of panting and sweating profusely, I stood up and started breaking off all of the dead branches I could `find. 

 

 

That's dedication!!  (y)

It's a shame about the Ash Trees. One of my favorites and I have many of them on the property I manage and it's only a matter of time until they're gone. I never thought however that there may be species that depend on them that will be disappearing soon too! WOW! :sore:  :sore:


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Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva

Formica subsericea


#9 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 26 2019 - 12:37 PM

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Why not get a good ladder and enjoy them in their natural habitat? Good luck with the ones you collected.

I don't think I could get a 40 foot tall ladder.


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#10 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 31 2019 - 4:07 PM

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Caught a HUGE queen today who was running across my fence. I literally thought she was a Camponotus (Myrmentomaspp. when I first saw her, she's that big!


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#11 Offline FeedTheAnts - Posted May 31 2019 - 4:44 PM

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Caught a HUGE queen today who was running across my fence. I literally thought she was a Camponotus (Myrmentomaspp. when I first saw her, she's that big!

What time of day do you usually see these? You seem to have some skill when catching this genus. Help would be appreciated as I'm desperately hoping to get some of these before it's too late.


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#12 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted May 31 2019 - 5:12 PM

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Caught a HUGE queen today who was running across my fence. I literally thought she was a Camponotus (Myrmentoma) spp. when I first saw her, she's that big!

What time of day do you usually see these? You seem to have some skill when catching this genus. Help would be appreciated as I'm desperately hoping to get some of these before it's too late.
Same here! I don't want to risk dying from a 15-20 foot fall for an ant... :lol: But that being said, I'm not weak, so climbing a tree shouldn't be too much of a chore)

Edited by Ant_Dude2908, May 31 2019 - 5:14 PM.


#13 Offline Acutus - Posted May 31 2019 - 5:21 PM

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 I don't want to risk dying from a 15-20 foot fall for an ant... :lol:

You just lack the Dedication Cloud has!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:


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Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva

Formica subsericea


#14 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted May 31 2019 - 5:24 PM

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I don't want to risk dying from a 15-20 foot fall for an ant... :lol:

You just lack the Dedication Cloud has!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

Do I? I chased a Trachymyrmex worker up a vine for 15-20 feet today. I could have died if I fell, as there was a 10 foot drop off under the 15-20 feet of vine I climbed VERTICALLY. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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#15 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 31 2019 - 5:40 PM

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Caught a HUGE queen today who was running across my fence. I literally thought she was a Camponotus (Myrmentomaspp. when I first saw her, she's that big!

What time of day do you usually see these? You seem to have some skill when catching this genus. Help would be appreciated as I'm desperately hoping to get some of these before it's too late.

 

I found this one at about 6:30 PM, one at around 11:00 PM, and another at 7:00 AM. I may find some tonight too.

 

 

 

 I don't want to risk dying from a 15-20 foot fall for an ant... :lol:

You just lack the Dedication Cloud has!!  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

 

Yep, I definitely have plenty of dedication, and I risk death for ants! I climbed up 50 feet in a Red Maple Tree today and came back down with a large colony of Pseudomyrmex ejectus. I got my foot stuck when coming down. I also ripped open my knee and was bleeding quite a bit. Soooooo worth it though! :lol:


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#16 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted May 31 2019 - 5:42 PM

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OMG one of these days you won't be so lucky!

Ps. are Psuedomyrmex arboreal? No wonder why I can't find any in twigs I the forest floor!

#17 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 31 2019 - 5:48 PM

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OMG one of these days you won't be so lucky!

Ps. are Psuedomyrmex arboreal? No wonder why I can't find any in twigs I the forest floor!

Yeah, one day... If I do fall and I have enough time, I'll adjust myself headfirst so I die instantly.  :lol:

 

And yeah, Pseudomyrmex are 100% arboreal, ranging from like a few inches off of the forest floor to over 100 feet up.


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#18 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted May 31 2019 - 5:59 PM

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Ok thanks! I have a maple tree that grew around a dead maple, so I will check that.

#19 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 31 2019 - 6:21 PM

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Ok thanks! I have a maple tree that grew around a dead maple, so I will check that.

They nest in a whole variety of trees, so be sure to check all of the dead twigs you find.


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#20 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted June 4 2019 - 11:18 AM

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I'm gonna try something with my queens. I want to see if they dig the holes into White Ash twigs, or if they nest in pre-drilled cavities. I'm going to test this out by giving them a living White Ash twig and leaving it in for a few days to see what they do with it. Maybe I'm figure something out new with this experiment!


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