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LC3's Camponotus modoc Journal [June/03/2018]

camponotus camponotus modoc journal ant journal carpenter ant lc3s journals

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#1 Offline LC3 - Posted March 19 2016 - 5:11 PM

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If you may or may not remember my friends found this Camponotus queen on a Thursday sometime during May last year. There were quite a few queens around an area but they ran away with their workers or with no workers, this queen was found at a different area at the base of a tree.

 

I later identified these to be C.modoc because of the red legs. C.modoc is also the dominant carpenter ant species around here. 

 

The colony started off with 6 workers however later during August, 2015 one of them died (for unknown reasons). Just a note that brood development completely halted during mid summer last year. Anyways they went into hibernation during early September if I recall and came out of Hibernation early February. Immediately brood resumed developing and 2 workers eclosed a week ago.

 

The colony currently has 7 workers (5 nanitics and 2 workers) along with 2 pupae, around 5 large larvae (one is attempting to pupate) and 6 smaller larvae. Along with 2 piles of eggs.

 

Video from March 16

 

There's some weird mycelium stuff growing on the dirt in the test tube, I've noticed it is naturally found in the dirt here and does very well in an artificial environment especially when another organic compound is nearby (e.g cotton or insect bits). So far it doesn't seem like it's affecting the ants.

 

Note: I also had another queen but I am unable to get her to rear brood or eggs. Guess she is a dud.

As you can see when it comes to journals I am very inconsistent. :whistle:


Edited by LC3, June 3 2018 - 11:35 AM.

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#2 Offline Mdrogun - Posted March 19 2016 - 7:16 PM

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Maybe you could boost the second queen with pupae from this colony?


Ready for Nuptial flights!


#3 Offline LC3 - Posted March 19 2016 - 7:40 PM

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I might but I honestly don't see why, she is missing an antennae , she's really sluggish and has attempted to rear 3 batches of brood all of which failed.


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#4 Offline Mdrogun - Posted March 19 2016 - 7:59 PM

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I might but I honestly don't see why, she is missing an antennae , she's really sluggish and has attempted to rear 3 batches of brood all of which failed.

In my experience, a single worker can completely change a queen's success. I don't have many Camponotus colonies around me but, I normally find 2 or 3 queens a year. I came across a queen who was on the ground not moving and was missing an antennae or leg (this was last year so the details are a little foggy). I caught her and she kept laying eggs but would end up eating them. I ended up giving her a pupae that was due to hatch any day from my Camponotus pennsylvanicus colony which had about 50 workers. The worker ended up hatching and the queen layed about 5 eggs. The worker took care of the eggs and they all turned into pupae. I then sold the colony and the person I sold them to said the pupae hatched and the colony was doing great. I think the problem with injured queens who are missing an antennae is that they can't properly take care of the brood, they are still excellent egg layers. So, if you supply the queen with 1 worker I think she will actually do OK. I could be totally wrong though as the Camponotus I was working with were Camponotus herculeanus and Camponotus pennsylvanicus.


Edited by Mdrogun, March 19 2016 - 8:00 PM.

Ready for Nuptial flights!


#5 Offline LC3 - Posted March 19 2016 - 8:10 PM

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Guess I'll try it once one of the pupae are about to eclose.


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#6 Offline LC3 - Posted April 7 2016 - 11:47 PM

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I found one of the workers eating some brood and another 2 workers, who are the original nanitics are gone.. The nanitics probably ran off when I forgot to reapply the barrier either that or they died and were quickly consumed by the white fungus. Which hasn't spread. All of the previous cocoons enclosed and there are 4 new cocoons.

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#7 Offline LC3 - Posted April 23 2016 - 10:06 PM

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The main colony's been rather slow. Slow but steady brood growth, I see new eggs occasionally but to what percentage make it to larvae is unknown. The new tube has no substrate mainly because I have no clue what to use as substrate, don't want the fungus filled dirt which started making fruiting bodies and is now quickly dying off.

 

As for the queens I obtained, non of the alates shed their wings but 2 of the dealates have started laying eggs and one made herself a cozy soggy little bed of bits of cotton she ripped out.


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#8 Offline LC3 - Posted May 23 2016 - 9:17 AM

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[May/23/2016]

 

All the workers from the previous generation eclosed and they're now starting to raise another one. There are still two pupae left and a larva. 

 

On another note one of the workers that eclosed has a length around 2/3rds of the queen. In the wild with mature colonies their workers tend to be about the size of the queen. (usually the smallest at 1/2 the size of the queen, largest one I found might be the size of the queen itself)

 

I'll get pictures.. later. :lol:


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#9 Offline LC3 - Posted June 4 2016 - 10:28 AM

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[June/4/2016]

This is an update on the queens I found.

All of them have brood at various stages except the 2 that died of course. :P


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#10 Offline LC3 - Posted January 7 2017 - 3:09 PM

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[Jan/07/2017]

The colony was moved into another tube a while ago, the dirt was overrunned by the white mycelium that  occurs naturally in the dirt here.

I decided to use saw dust for the substrate instead but they don't seem too fond of it, I assume since it's because they are wood nesting ants and it's their instinct to remove sawdust.

As of now the tube has no substrate in it. Which doesn't seem to bother them very much either.

They spent around 3 months in hibernation but I don't recall the exact date or timespan. All 16 workers made it through hibernation

 

The colony is doing well, the brood immediately started developing after hibernation and the queen has laid tons of eggs.

There's currently 14 workers (I'm not exactly sure where the other two went, out of all the workers that disappeared from the colony I've only ever managed to confirm 2 that died), around 22 pupae, 4 larvae and lots of eggs. I'm estimating 60 eggs at the very least.

 

IMG_05081_zps2lrvafmb.jpg

 

 

IMG_05031_zpsgzd6zydm.jpg

​Queen & worker trophallaxis

 

I've noticed a behaviour these Camponotus display, I'm not sure if it applies for the entire genus.  I believe it is some sort of alarm signal meant to attract workers via the sound or pheromones, maybe both. The workers will hit their gasters against the ground in sequences of usually three hits. Making a faint 'toc' sound as they do it.

Trying to replicate the behaviour isn't easy as there are certain requirements to be met I believe. More often then not I end up with the jerking movement most ant keepers are familiar with. Out of the few times I have seen them do it, it was mostly done by minors in order to attract majors and nearly always done in an open area, usually never in the nest. They don't pause when hitting their gaster on the ground either. 

If anyone wants to try to replicate it, here are the requirements I found that increase the chances of them displaying this movement:

1. Close proximity to nest or another large body of ants.

2. Some sort of threat/thing that requires muscle/backup. A live young mealworm will do.

3 Open area, this makes it easier to see and separate from the 'jerking' movement some formicine ants do.


Edited by LC3, January 8 2017 - 1:46 AM.

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#11 Offline LC3 - Posted January 8 2017 - 10:11 PM

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I have managed to get footage of the behaviour I mentioned in the post above.The behaviour is carried out by the median worker not the minor in this case. (Sorry for the bad video setting)

The nest was located at the front left corner originally moved it so they wouldn't run back in if I startled them so the according to the ants the nest should still be there. 

The ants can't kill the worm or damage it. 

It's clearly distinguishable from the jerking movement as well. The ant does the jerking movement when attacking the attacking the mealworm for comparison

 

If you crank the volume up (like full volume up) and there's not a lot of noise at wherever you are you can hear the 'toc' noise the worker makes when hitting the gaster. 


Edited by LC3, January 8 2017 - 10:13 PM.

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#12 Online Canadian anter - Posted January 9 2017 - 12:11 PM

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This is normal behavior, especially around Camponotus. I think this is to show excitement however Lasius sometimes demonstrate this behavior too
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#13 Offline LC3 - Posted January 9 2017 - 1:37 PM

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I know auditory sounds and signals are common in Camponotus especially C. pennsylvanicus (Which make a crackling and probably other wood nesting Camponotus species (Since wood resonates sound easily). I was just curious if anyone else has ever seen the gaster hitting movement that the C.modoc in the video are displaying in order to make that sound. I asked around in chat once and no one seems to have seen this specific behaviour.

However I doubt Lasius have much use for auditory sounds that involve hitting against a physical object i.e the ground or whatever surface they happen to be on.


Edited by LC3, January 9 2017 - 3:39 PM.

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#14 Offline Reevak - Posted January 9 2017 - 6:18 PM

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Very nice journal. Camponotus always look so cool when there is a large colony of them. I can't wait to see it expand.



#15 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted January 9 2017 - 6:29 PM

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I know auditory sounds and signals are common in Camponotus especially C. pennsylvanicus (Which make a crackling and probably other wood nesting Camponotus species (Since wood resonates sound easily). I was just curious if anyone else has ever seen the gaster hitting movement that the C.modoc in the video are displaying in order to make that sound. I asked around in chat once and no one seems to have seen this specific behaviour.

However I doubt Lasius have much use for auditory sounds that involve hitting against a physical object i.e the ground or whatever surface they happen to be on.

 

Striation is very common behavior amongst ants. As the name implies, I believe it has less to do with "thumping" and more to do with "snapping/clicking", by rubbing body parts together.


Edited by Batspiderfish, January 9 2017 - 6:31 PM.

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If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

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#16 Offline KBant - Posted October 30 2017 - 3:29 AM

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yo! no updates all year? 


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#17 Offline LC3 - Posted October 30 2017 - 3:17 PM

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They sort of just stopped some point last year, all larvae development just ends and queen egg laying. So I put them in hibernation and took them out a month or two ago. As normal the brood started just suddenly developing again. Not sure if the cycle will repeat and result in them stop growing again after the first 1 1/2 generations. 


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#18 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted October 30 2017 - 8:12 PM

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I know for a fact that some termite species do this thumping thing(but with their heads), so it seems reasonable that ants could possibly do something like this.
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#19 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted January 8 2018 - 8:48 PM

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Update?

#20 Offline LC3 - Posted February 16 2018 - 7:54 PM

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[Feb/16/2018]

 

Long time no update. Sometime during December I got them a heating pad, seems to have pretty much solved the brood problem. They didn't stop developing before I got them the heating pad but the heating pad quickened the time it took for the brood to develop. Egg laying rates have more or less remained unchanged. Oddly the only time I recall where the brood problem started was when we were hit by a heatwave in the summer. At this point they're about to outgrow the test tube they nest in, considering they've already started hollowing out the piece of wood in their tube.

 

They've made a chamber at the bottom of the tube using trash, for some reason they aren't too keen on removing trash but it hasn't been a problem (no mold from it, or anything). Most of the trash they dumped outside have been pieces of wood and cotton.

 

They are more receptive to live prey then dead or freshly killed and will nearly always eat insects they killed and varies otherwise.

 

  Jan 28, 2018 They brought in a dead beetle

Jan 28, 2018, brood

 

Feb 16, 2018, Setup

Feb 16, 2018

 

Feb 16, 2018, Most of the brood

 

In my opinion these images are pretty half-a$$ed. Will post better pics later or probably a video since they're a lot easier to make and way more detailed.


Edited by LC3, February 16 2018 - 8:00 PM.

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