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Discothyrea testacea


26 replies to this topic

#1 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 10 2019 - 10:11 AM

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I finally have collected a small colony of this species.  Has anyone on this forum kept this species.  I currently have a couple of species of Proceratium and have been feeding them the eggs of the American House Spider which they readily take.  So if you, the reader, has or is currently keeping Discothyrea testacea please share some of your experience with this cryptic species.

 
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#2 Offline GooglyBlox - Posted July 10 2019 - 10:18 AM

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This is quoted from a website: “Katherine Driscoll was still a high school student when she started working in the Dunn Lab. She was assigned the impossible task of collecting a colony of a rare ant, Discothyrea testacea, which appears to eat only spider eggs (though, truth be told, no one really knows). She was thrilled to find several individuals on NCSU campus (right behind the Biology Dept. building), but these were all dead. By using a simple technique she developed for collecting live ants, Katherine found a living specimen of Discothyrea testacea. This discovery made Katherine one of the first people ever to see this rare species of ant alive under the microscope! Katherine is now a sophomore at NCSU, and is continuing to conduct research as part of the School of Ants team.”

You are a very lucky person to find this species!

Edited by GooglyBlox, July 10 2019 - 10:19 AM.

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#3 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 10 2019 - 5:04 PM

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The colony I collected clearly had spider eggs collected similar to how Proceratium have been found with piled spider eggs.  Also some of the larvae just like in Proceratium have placed larvae on the eggs for consumption.



#4 Offline Manitobant - Posted July 10 2019 - 6:03 PM

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Just curious how do you get your spider eggs? I'd be interested in keeping proceratium silaceum if my supplier can find any.

Edited by Manitobant, July 10 2019 - 6:04 PM.


#5 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 11 2019 - 3:09 AM

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The common American House Spider is found in basements, windowsills, etc.  Very very common.  Just find egg sacks that are new with early stage eggs.  I usually find the egg sacs which the mother spider is attached too or next to usually has eggs suitable for feeding the ants.



#6 Offline VoidElecent - Posted July 11 2019 - 6:27 AM

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Incredible. Best of luck. Don't know anything about Discothyrea, but I wouldn't be surprised if the little guys really like humidity.



#7 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 12 2019 - 12:09 PM

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Interesting this colony was found under duff of rock outcrop that I would find Solenopsis/Crematogaster/Aphaenogaster/Hyperponera so nothing different then these common genera.



#8 Offline NickAnter - Posted July 13 2019 - 6:52 AM

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Do you think that they(Proceratium and Discothyrea) would accept Brown Widow eggs?
Colonies:
Nylanderia vividula
Pheidole navigans
Camponotus hyatti
Founding queens: Brachymyrmex patagonicus, Solenopsis xyloni, Lasius cf. niger, Solenopsis molesta, Temnothorax cf. caguatan, Formica argentea, Camponotus vicinus, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Myrmica cf. tahoensis.

#9 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 13 2019 - 12:44 PM

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I have noticed in keeping my Proceratium that the eggs cannot be too large so for example most wolf spider eggs are too large so they will ignore them, but the egg of the American House Spider are just right in size, the eggs of the Black Widow are too large too, fyi.  So spiders of smaller size would have to used.  



#10 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 15 2019 - 2:01 PM

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I am experimenting with different ant genera eggs as possible foods for this ant along with termite eggs.  



#11 Offline PacificNorthWestern - Posted July 15 2019 - 2:28 PM

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pics?



#12 Offline Canadant - Posted July 15 2019 - 4:04 PM

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Yeah...pics please. These sound cool.

#13 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 17 2019 - 7:17 AM

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I found a 2nd colony today and collected them.  I will purchase a macro lense for my iphone and take some pics of the colony.  Since I have found two colonies in the past week I am beginning to think the species is more common.  I also have found them in the same type of environments so I will take a picture of where the colony was collected from here.  There was a large stash of spider or some other eggs with the colony along with the brood of the ants themselves. 


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#14 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 17 2019 - 3:13 PM

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Discothyrea
 
So in this photo are: the ants, pupae [mostly reproductives it seems], the gyne is at 2'oclock in the photo the others are workers.  The small orbs are an arthropod egg they have collected it seems as food, though I am not sure what, but most likely spider.  I added the first gyne I collected because she lost her workers and she has been accepted into this colony.  Now the task of keeping them alive, it will be a challenge.  I will get some better photos soon.  

Edited by PurdueEntomology, July 17 2019 - 3:15 PM.

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#15 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 17 2019 - 3:22 PM

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If they are anything like Proceratium then they should not be difficult to keep, I think the trick will be to find small spiders with eggs but I am also finding out that my Proceratium will take spring tail eggs as I have a one container with ants and springtails together then the ants have been collecting spring tail eggs.  


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#16 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 20 2019 - 7:34 PM

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Today I offered the colony some freshly laid eggs of a Pheidole dealate I had recently collected and which has laid a batch of eggs.  The Discothyrea inspected them then collected them and added them to their food-egg pile.  So now I am more confident that this species may be housed.  



#17 Offline ponerinecat - Posted July 21 2019 - 5:57 PM

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you seem to have the best of luck. first you keep neivamyrmex alive, and now this... hats off to you



#18 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 21 2019 - 11:29 PM

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Ponerinecat, thank you for the kind words, I would say persistence and curiosity drive my attempts.  I will say though I find this species so interesting and, to seem almost adolescent,  "cute".  I hope to get a male alate if the pupae eclose as that would be really great as not too many of them have been collected.  I am taking observational notes on them too as their behavior seems to be mostly inferential in nature, based on their similarity to Proceratium. I am wondering if they are myrmecooviphagous [neologism ?] in nature.  A question I have is how do they procure spider eggs for example as most spiders protect their eggs with silk casings etc.  Most centipedes guard their eggs as to ants but I could see this species as an egg thief though. I just have these questions about them.  



#19 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted July 21 2019 - 11:36 PM

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Poneriencat, I have my sights set on one species: Stigmatomma trigonignathum.  I plan on taking a weekend camping trip to North Carolina where I believe it is distributed specifically to try to find this species and hopefully a colony, so if Lady Luck has been with me so far, perhaps she will smile on me for this species. 


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#20 Offline ponerinecat - Posted July 23 2019 - 5:38 PM

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Ponerinecat, thank you for the kind words, I would say persistence and curiosity drive my attempts.  I will say though I find this species so interesting and, to seem almost adolescent,  "cute".  I hope to get a male alate if the pupae eclose as that would be really great as not too many of them have been collected.  I am taking observational notes on them too as their behavior seems to be mostly inferential in nature, based on their similarity to Proceratium. I am wondering if they are myrmecooviphagous [neologism ?] in nature.  A question I have is how do they procure spider eggs for example as most spiders protect their eggs with silk casings etc.  Most centipedes guard their eggs as to ants but I could see this species as an egg thief though. I just have these questions about them.  

They seem to chew through the egg sack. One African species has been found founding in egg sacks and using the gynes gaster to block the original entrance hole.  As for being cute, I think everyone agrees. They're called disco ants for a reason.


Edited by ponerinecat, July 23 2019 - 5:39 PM.





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