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Much ado about the founding of Lasius temporary social parasites


55 replies to this topic

#41 Offline Jamiesname - Posted October 2 2017 - 5:52 PM

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I recently caught a Lasius latipes queen and am planning on keeping her. Would you think that Lasius flavus workers would possibly accept the queen, seeing as they are in the same group as the L. nearcticus you used for yours?

There's honestly no way to tell, since nobody's really raised a Lasius latipes queen to the worker stage yet.
For what it's worth, I have a Lasius latipes queen that has been living with a host colony of 30+ workers, plus 20+ pupae (from the same colony) for close to a month now. Either yesterday or today sometime she has finally laid her own batch eggs. I can't count how many because they're too small, but the host workers do seem to have accepted them.

I used a lot of information from this thread, so thank you all for that. I'd rather learn from your mistakes than my own ūüėé. If anyone is interested in a detailed explanation of what I did, let me know and I'll post it. I don't want to take up space that could he used by more experienced keepers. Besides, this queen and her batch of eggs still need to make it through hibernation, and the eggs need to develope into workers before I feel comfortible declaring success.

As a side note, I'll save my dead (one turns up here and there) Lasius host workers so that I can identify exactly what species they are in the near future.

Edited by Jamiesname, October 2 2017 - 5:57 PM.

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#42 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted October 2 2017 - 7:02 PM

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For what it's worth, I have a Lasius latipes queen that has been living with a host colony of 30+ workers, plus 20+ pupae (from the same colony) for close to a month now. Either yesterday or today sometime she has finally laid her own batch eggs. I can't count how many because they're too small, but the host workers do seem to have accepted them.


I used a lot of information from this thread, so thank you all for that. I'd rather learn from your mistakes than my own . If anyone is interested in a detailed explanation of what I did, let me know and I'll post it. I don't want to take up space that could he used by more experienced keepers. Besides, this queen and her batch of eggs still need to make it through hibernation, and the eggs need to develope into workers before I feel comfortible declaring success.

As a side note, I'll save my dead (one turns up here and there) Lasius host workers so that I can identify exactly what species they are in the near future.

 

Sweet! Feel free to post. The majority of this thread is just refined anecdote. :blush:


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.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#43 Offline Jamiesname - Posted October 3 2017 - 5:21 PM

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Lasius latipes



‚Äč‚ÄčI've posted a couple of pictures of my Lasius latipes queen and her brood, along with the host colony. Before I get ahead of myself, however, I'll share some details regarding when and where I caught her.

Capture Date: 9-12-17
‚ÄčLocation: Northeastern Michigan (lower peninsula) on the sidewalk in front of my house. These queens were everywhere.
‚Äč
‚ÄčI caught her along with over 40 other various Lasius queens that day. I let most of them go, and kept 12. She is the only latipes queen remaining out of the 4 I kept of this species, the other 3 died about a week ago. Subsequently, she is the only one that I placed in a host colony. The other 3 I kept in a test tube setup and planned on hibernating them for the winter in case this particular queen didn't survive the introduction to the host colony. It seems the tables turned on me regarding that situation. Anyways, I went behind my house and flipped a few flat bricks because I knew there were a few Lasius colonies that I had seen weeks before living under some of them. I knew this because I saw queen alates scrambling back into their nest when I was lifting the bricks back then. I also saw a lot of pupae during that time. When I went back to capture some of those workers, I simply took a very large bowl (with an ant proofed rim) and grabbed a handful of the dirt/pupae/workers sitting under the brick and put it into the bowl. I found that the easiest way to recover the workers from the dirt in the bowl was to slowly stir the dirt to uncover them, and then use a test tube to trap them on the side of the bowl and wait until they climbed to the top of the tube, then simply transfer them to another temporary container. Once I dug out all of the workers (there ended up being 15 or so) I put two of them into the tube with my latipes queen. I didn't chill them, or do anything special, I just put them in there with her. Obviously the reaction went as expected, I had to separate them because I thought they were going to kill my queen. I then proceeded to recover the pupae from the dirt. I used a wet Q-tip that the eggs stuck to quite nicely. Once I cleared the surface dirt of eggs, I mixed the soil back up and repeated the process of excavating pupae until I couldn't find anymore. I then put all of the pupae (and only the pupae) into the tube with the latipes queen for about an hour or so, and then I reintroduced the two workers from before. I think she picked up some of the pheromones from the pupae, because this introduction went much, much better. The workers investigated her a little, but didn't attack. A few minutes later they were trying to move the pupae around. I waited until the next day so that the queen could pick up more pheromones from the eggs and workers, and then introduced a few more new workers and it went off without a hitch. They were slightly curious, but soon lost interest in the queen. I then added all of the rest of the workers one by one to see their reactions. They were the same. I felt pretty good and left it for about three days and hoped for the best.

‚ÄčI read (I believe on this very thread) that once a parasitic queen had been accepted into a colony she will lay more eggs, or less, depending on the size of the host colony. I also saw on here that it is recommended to have 20+ host workers, and I knew that I was a tad shy of that not counting the host pupae. So I went out and flipped the brick next to the one where I first collected a handful of dirt, ants and pupae and did the process a second time. This time all of the new workers accepted the parasitic queen like she was their own, and immediately started moving brood around without a second thought dedicated to the latipes queen, or the first batch of host workers and pupae. This boosted my workers to 40ish, and added to the collection of host pupae.

‚ÄčFast forward to a few days ago (9-30-17),I finally got a 15w heating cable and ran it under their makeshift formicarium. I added that detail because it may have been a contributor to what came next. . . On 10-2-17, nearly 3 weeks since I first caught my queen (I was beginning to wonder if I had to hibernate her before she would lay eggs) I noticed what I thought was torn cotton stuck to the top of the test tube. On further inspection it turned out to be a small pile of eggs. Once I moved the tube so that I could take a look on the bottom, I noticed another larger pile of eggs down there.

I used small plastic test tubes for this, 3 x 0.5 x 0.5 inches. Taped two together end to end, one for water and the other for living space. Then I drilled a small hole (big enough for the queen to fit through) inside of the empty tube used for living space, and taped a 6" piece of 1/8" ( inside diameter) clear vinyl tubing to it so that they had plenty of room to move the host brood around if they wanted to. I then placed the entire set up into a clear rectangular plastic cage that my kids used to use for hermit crabs. Once the rim was ant proofed, I placed a plastic dish with cotton balls in the corner of it that I keep moist for extra hydration if the ants need it. Now I see that the ants have put some of the unhatched pupae under the moist cotton. This happened around the same time that I noticed the new batch of eggs. In fact, the new eggs are where they used to keep the pupae, so maybe that's why they pupae got moved to the dish with the moist cotton balls outside of the test tubes. I've also been feeding the colony since day 5 or 6, right after the entirety of the first batch of host workers got successfully introduced. I've been feeding all sorts of things, such as honey, sugar water, candy, cat food, dog food, chicken, beef pot roast, spider, etc.

That's about all I can think of. There's probably way too many details in all of this than necessary, but I want to give as much information as I can in case anyone wants to replicate it since it has been successful thus far. As I've stated in my last post, the colony will need to survive hibernation, and the eggs will need to actually hatch so that I know they are fertile, before I officially declare this ordeal a success.

Feel free to post any questions, or send me a PM. I'll do my best to help, but know that I'm going on beginners luck with a majority of this.


You can see the larger pile of eggs just to the left of where the two tubes come together.

Eggs



And here is the queen in all of her glory.
Queen

Edited by Jamiesname, October 4 2017 - 2:45 PM.

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#44 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted October 3 2017 - 6:21 PM

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I introduced a very calm and possibly infertile Lasius claviger queen to my friendliest Lasius neoniger queen. They are getting along great! I actually saw the Lasius neoniger queen feed the Lasius claviger queen! (Aww!)

 

I hope the relationship doesn't go sour...


Hawaiiant (Ben)

Keeper of
Miniature Labradoodle
Baby Wolf Spider
Mud Dauber wasp larvae
Ochetellus Glaber
Solenopsis Geminata
Brachymyrmex Obscurior
Cardiocondyla Emeryi
Tetramorium Bicarinatum
Plagiolepis Alluaudi
Anoplolepis Gracilipes
Technomyrmex Difficilis
Pheidole Megacephala
Aholehole fish
Cowrie snail
Sea Fan Worm
100+ sea squirts
Tree seedlings
Ghost Crab
Day Gecko
Small Fat Centipede
Endemic Lacewing larva
Vernal Pool shrimps

#45 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted October 3 2017 - 7:05 PM

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I introduced a very calm and possibly infertile Lasius claviger queen to my friendliest Lasius neoniger queen. They are getting along great! I actually saw the Lasius neoniger queen feed the Lasius claviger queen! (Aww!)

 

I hope the relationship doesn't go sour...

 

I've read that in experiments with paired parasite/host queen foundings, one of the ants will invariably wind up dead.


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.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#46 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted October 25 2017 - 5:45 PM

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I find this a bit odd but I find most of the lasius parasite queens in leaflitter, it seems that they prefer hibernating there. Also, I caught 2 L. Claviger queens and hope to introduce one to my 7 worker L alienus colony since they recently lost their queen. I tried switching their test tubes so the L. Claviger queen was in the oldL. Alienus nest. I had left a droplet of honey in there for the workers before I moved them and when I checked on tge queen, she had drank the entire drop! It was the size of her thorax too which surprised me even more. I plan on keeping here in there a little longer so she'll soak in the odor. I plan on introducing her in a few hours and see what happens.

#47 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted October 25 2017 - 5:53 PM

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I just put in a fresh drop of honey and hey presto she panicked and ran around the entire test tube like crazy!!!! Seems like she's attracted to only lasius alienus related foods...

#48 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted October 25 2017 - 5:59 PM

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I just put in a fresh drop of honey and hey presto she panicked and ran around the entire test tube like crazy!!!! Seems like she's attracted to only lasius alienus related foods...

#49 Offline Canadian anter - Posted October 25 2017 - 7:51 PM

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I introduced a very calm and possibly infertile Lasius claviger queen to my friendliest Lasius neoniger queen. They are getting along great! I actually saw the Lasius neoniger queen feed the Lasius claviger queen! (Aww!)

 

I hope the relationship doesn't go sour...

 

I've read that in experiments with paired parasite/host queen foundings, one of the ants will invariably wind up dead.

 

Shhhhhhhhhhhh 

Little miss neoniger doesn't need to know her friend's evil



#50 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted October 26 2017 - 3:36 AM

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New method-
The tubes and fridge method
1 Put a droplet of honey in the host colony's test tube. Make sure that the test tube isn't dresh or new
2 move the colony out(the colony must have no queen)
3 place the parasite queen into the old tube for an hour or so then move both colonies into the fridge for a few hours
4 after 3 hours, remove the ants and quickly but gently move the parasite queen into the host colony
5 keep the colony in the dark or observe their behavior. If ppssible, try leaving them overnight.
Hopefully the queen wil have lapped up the honey drop, and also absorbed the colony scent in the old test tube.

#51 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted October 26 2017 - 9:17 AM

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I introduced a very calm and possibly infertile Lasius claviger queen to my friendliest Lasius neoniger queen. They are getting along great! I actually saw the Lasius neoniger queen feed the Lasius claviger queen! (Aww!)

 

I hope the relationship doesn't go sour...

 

I've read that in experiments with paired parasite/host queen foundings, one of the ants will invariably wind up dead.

 

Shhhhhhhhhhhh 

Little miss neoniger doesn't need to know her friend's evil

 

The crazy part is that they both died. A Camponotus pennsylvanicus worker broke into the tube and beheaded the Claviger queen. She probably ate the neoniger queen, because I found a L. neoniger leg right outside of the tube.

 

 

New method-
The tubes and fridge method
1 Put a droplet of honey in the host colony's test tube. Make sure that the test tube isn't dresh or new
2 move the colony out(the colony must have no queen)
3 place the parasite queen into the old tube for an hour or so then move both colonies into the fridge for a few hours
4 after 3 hours, remove the ants and quickly but gently move the parasite queen into the host colony
5 keep the colony in the dark or observe their behavior. If ppssible, try leaving them overnight.
Hopefully the queen wil have lapped up the honey drop, and also absorbed the colony scent in the old test tube.

Pretty interesting. Isn't this kind of a combination between the honey drop and refrigeration methods


Hawaiiant (Ben)

Keeper of
Miniature Labradoodle
Baby Wolf Spider
Mud Dauber wasp larvae
Ochetellus Glaber
Solenopsis Geminata
Brachymyrmex Obscurior
Cardiocondyla Emeryi
Tetramorium Bicarinatum
Plagiolepis Alluaudi
Anoplolepis Gracilipes
Technomyrmex Difficilis
Pheidole Megacephala
Aholehole fish
Cowrie snail
Sea Fan Worm
100+ sea squirts
Tree seedlings
Ghost Crab
Day Gecko
Small Fat Centipede
Endemic Lacewing larva
Vernal Pool shrimps

#52 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted October 26 2017 - 11:15 AM

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I introduced a very calm and possibly infertile Lasius claviger queen to my friendliest Lasius neoniger queen. They are getting along great! I actually saw the Lasius neoniger queen feed the Lasius claviger queen! (Aww!)

I hope the relationship doesn't go sour...


I've read that in experiments with paired parasite/host queen foundings, one of the ants will invariably wind up dead.
Shhhhhhhhhhhh
Little miss neoniger doesn't need to know her friend's evil
The crazy part is that they both died. A Camponotus pennsylvanicus worker broke into the tube and beheaded the Claviger queen. She probably ate the neoniger queen, because I found a L. neoniger leg right outside of the tube.

New method-
The tubes and fridge method
1 Put a droplet of honey in the host colony's test tube. Make sure that the test tube isn't dresh or new
2 move the colony out(the colony must have no queen)
3 place the parasite queen into the old tube for an hour or so then move both colonies into the fridge for a few hours
4 after 3 hours, remove the ants and quickly but gently move the parasite queen into the host colony
5 keep the colony in the dark or observe their behavior. If ppssible, try leaving them overnight.
Hopefully the queen wil have lapped up the honey drop, and also absorbed the colony scent in the old test tube.

Pretty interesting. Isn't this kind of a combination between the honey drop and refrigeration methods
The most important part of this method is placing the queen inside of the test tube that the colony used to live in in order for her to absorb the smell.

#53 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted October 26 2017 - 4:35 PM

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This doesn't work. I tried it with my L. umbratus and L. neoniger workers and it was a bloodbath. Maybe you should try providing a dead worker as well (clearly the tube's pheromones aren't sufficient)


Hawaiiant (Ben)

Keeper of
Miniature Labradoodle
Baby Wolf Spider
Mud Dauber wasp larvae
Ochetellus Glaber
Solenopsis Geminata
Brachymyrmex Obscurior
Cardiocondyla Emeryi
Tetramorium Bicarinatum
Plagiolepis Alluaudi
Anoplolepis Gracilipes
Technomyrmex Difficilis
Pheidole Megacephala
Aholehole fish
Cowrie snail
Sea Fan Worm
100+ sea squirts
Tree seedlings
Ghost Crab
Day Gecko
Small Fat Centipede
Endemic Lacewing larva
Vernal Pool shrimps

#54 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted October 26 2017 - 5:04 PM

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I'm not sure, maybe I was lucky. I should also point out that I seperated both into seperate test tubes and quickly moved the queen into the host nest while the ants were still in hibernation mode. Currently the L. Claviger queen is behaving nicely with them and hopefully she'll lay a batch of eggs sooner or later.

#55 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted October 26 2017 - 6:56 PM

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Mindblown- I got about 10 or so workers from a lasius claviger colony and another l. Claviger queen. I cooled both down for about 3 or 4 hours and introduced them to each other. No fights or dispytes broke out, they just treated her like a colony member. I put them in the refrigerator once again for about an hour and I brought them out and now they're all huddled together with the queen in the middle! Is this even possible?! I was so shocked to see that it worked!

#56 Offline Connectimyrmex - Posted October 27 2017 - 11:50 AM

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Mindblown- I got about 10 or so workers from a lasius claviger colony and another l. Claviger queen. I cooled both down for about 3 or 4 hours and introduced them to each other. No fights or dispytes broke out, they just treated her like a colony member. I put them in the refrigerator once again for about an hour and I brought them out and now they're all huddled together with the queen in the middle! Is this even possible?! I was so shocked to see that it worked!

That's how its supposed to work. Maybe the L. claviger queen was alated from the L. claviger colony.

The same type of thing happens with L. latipes/murphyi and L. flavus.


Hawaiiant (Ben)

Keeper of
Miniature Labradoodle
Baby Wolf Spider
Mud Dauber wasp larvae
Ochetellus Glaber
Solenopsis Geminata
Brachymyrmex Obscurior
Cardiocondyla Emeryi
Tetramorium Bicarinatum
Plagiolepis Alluaudi
Anoplolepis Gracilipes
Technomyrmex Difficilis
Pheidole Megacephala
Aholehole fish
Cowrie snail
Sea Fan Worm
100+ sea squirts
Tree seedlings
Ghost Crab
Day Gecko
Small Fat Centipede
Endemic Lacewing larva
Vernal Pool shrimps




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