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Dspdrew's Formica francoeuri Journal [211] (Updated 12-3-2018)

dspdrew formica francoeuri journal

47 replies to this topic

#1 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 3 2015 - 12:57 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

5-3-2015
 
I got one Formica francoeuri queen from Chromerust, who found it on April 4th 2015 in Riverside, California, and I found the other two close to Wrightwood, California, just off Lone Pine Canyon Road on April 28th, 2015.

 

One of the queens I got from Wrightwood I found just running around, while the other I found under a rock.

 

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The queen I got from Chromerust I put in a test tube, and it seems to be a dud. It doesn't want to do anything like dig a nest or lay eggs.

 

As for the Wrightwood queens, I putone in a test tube, and the other in one of my small ant farm boxes.

 

I boosted all three queens with some brood I found in a colony nesting underneath a rock.

 

The brood in the ant farm box was starting to mold because it was so wet, so I put a fan on it to dry it out. To make sure the queen didn't dry out and die, I put a liquid feeder in with her. Apparently she was able to reach the hole in the lid from the top of the liquid feeder, because this morning she was nowhere to be found. This means I probably have a Formica francoeuri queen starting a colony somewhere in my kitchen...

 

The remaining Wrightwood queen seems to be doing alright in her test tube, and has already laid a decent sized pile of eggs.



#2 Offline dean_k - Posted May 3 2015 - 10:10 AM

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The brood in the ant farm box was starting to mold because it was so wet, so I put a fan on it to dry it out. To make sure the queen didn't dry out and die, I put a liquid feeder in with her. Apparently she was able to reach the hole in the lid from the top of the liquid feeder, because this morning she was nowhere to be found. This means I probably have a Formica francoeuri queen starting a colony somewhere in my kitchen...
 

 

:whistle:

 

Well, why not. Your whole apartment is ant breeding farm house anyway. :warning:



#3 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 3 2015 - 10:15 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

It would be kind of cool I guess. :lol:  I just wouldn't want them foraging in my neighbor's apartment.


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#4 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 12 2015 - 7:31 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 5-12-2015
 

On 5-10-2015 I found 32 more of these queens. The first bunch I found in the Lytle Creek wash in San Bernardino, California, right off Cajon Blvd. (Route 66). They started their mating flight around 9:30 am when it reached about 75 degrees. Within minutes, I started seeing them swarming everywhere. They don't seem to fly very high off the ground. Some of them hardly even get off the ground at all. I did see a few females get up around three or four feet and fly away.

Here's some video I got of the mating flight.

 

 

 

Since these were just starting to mate, and all still had their wings, I wanted to make sure I wasn't collecting any infertile alates. I made sure that I only collected the ones I actually saw mating; preferably with multiple males. I was actually sticking the whole mating ball in the container so they could continue to mate.

 

I tried to get some video of it.

 

 

 

 

By 10:30 the whole mating flight was over, and it was almost hard to tell it ever happened. There were a few spots where there were still some males flying around, but it was very hard to find any females at that point. I found the second bunch at Mormon Rocks Station in Phelan, California. The ones I found there were all dealates.

 

It's been three days now, and a couple of them have laid eggs. It looks like about half of the alates have removed their wings.

 

As for the two I already had, one has quite a few growing larvae now, and the other one that was given to me still has nothing. The good queen either killed all the pupae I boosted it with, or they just died. The queen that seems to be a dud did actually end up with one of the boost pupae eclosing, so right now it's got one boost worker, but doesn't look like it's going to produce anything.

 

I took a male specimen from the mating flight so I was able to get some good pictures of it.

 

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#5 Offline James C. Trager - Posted May 13 2015 - 6:02 AM

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Nice batch of images and videos of this common, but virtually unstudied ant. I don't think the details of mating activity have been described for this species before.

Note. Erect hairs on scapes are hardly visible (because so short), but those on the femurs are fantastically well depicted!



#6 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 13 2015 - 6:09 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Are you only talking about the male, because the scapes on the queen as seen here, seem to show hairs pretty clearly?

 

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#7 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 1 2015 - 8:52 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 6-1-2015
 

The queen I found in Wrightwood, CA only one month ago already has nanitics. The others are not far behind. The majority of these alates and dealates have not laid any eggs at all. I have some with wings still that have a whole bunch of larvae, and some with no wings that have nothing. I just let all the ones that haven't laid any eggs yet go outside. I'm no longer going to take care of queens that seem to be duds when I have plenty that clearly aren't.

 

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#8 Offline nurbs - Posted June 8 2015 - 1:03 PM

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What is that blue/cyan gel you are feeding them?


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#9 Offline drtrmiller - Posted June 8 2015 - 1:27 PM

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What is that blue/cyan gel you are feeding them?

 

http://www.byformica...ormula_Blue_100



#10 Offline Foogoo - Posted June 9 2015 - 7:18 AM

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What is your feeding regimen? Do you normally stick to one food or rotate? I don't know if it's because I've been feeding my ants more variation of foods or what but they seem to all be rejecting Blue 100 now. I tried more the other day and nearly all, including the F. francoeuri, piled sand on it. Only my Pheidole hyatti ate it, and only after it was dry.


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#11 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 9 2015 - 9:01 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I see the same thing too with some species. I try to give them something different each time.



#12 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 14 2015 - 1:52 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 6-14-2015
 

All the rest of these had their workers eclose a few days ago.



#13 Offline Foogoo - Posted June 14 2015 - 11:37 AM

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Are all of yours still in test tubes? Most of mine are but I find it pretty difficult to feed since the workers are pretty quick and easily spooked.


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#14 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 14 2015 - 12:47 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Yes they are.



#15 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 16 2015 - 7:34 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 6-16-2015
 

I put one of these colonies into an extra small ant farm box I had available. Like my Formica moki colony, they dig their nest VERY slowly. It's been two days now, and there is just a tiny bit dug. Like Myrmecocystus, it doesn't seem that the queen wants to do any of the work, so since it's only workers digging, the hole is very small and I'm not sure how they are going to fit the queen down in there. I'll probably end up having to open the hole up wider like I did for my Myrmecocystus navajo queen when I put them in one of these boxes.



#16 Offline Foogoo - Posted June 17 2015 - 3:31 PM

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What have you been feeding them? Mine loves fruit flies but anything with a touch of liquid (Blue, nectar, etc.) they'll maybe take a few sips then pile it FULL of sand. 


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#17 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 17 2015 - 5:14 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I've just been giving them Formula Blue.



#18 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 18 2015 - 5:42 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

A few new pictures.

 

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#19 Offline Ants4fun - Posted June 18 2015 - 5:44 PM

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I have always a Formica colony! Then again, I have wanted lot's of things... But Formica have a special place in my heart. I love the way they freak out! Jealous.



#20 Offline Foogoo - Posted June 18 2015 - 6:55 PM

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Do you dry the Blue out first before feeding? I've noticed mine will eat it dry but bury it if wet, same with Pheidole.


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta






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