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Rhytidoponera metallica


35 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Mathiacus - Posted July 4 2014 - 2:28 AM

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I have done a few tests with this species and their climbing ability is almost non existent. The green head ant or pony ant as some call it has quite a nasty sting so if I am to keep this species I want to be sure they can not escape.

I have it from a mate that they are good little diggers so I will be housing them in my large upright formicarium with a sand substrate. Due to their aggressiveness amd terrible clinging skills they are the easiest ants I have collected yet! Simply stir them up then put a steel paint scraper in front of them. Tipping them Into a container is easy. They can't hold past about 45 degrees of tilt.

I have one photo of one I grabbed between some metal tweezers. Surprisingly when I let it go it was unharmed, if a little angry. Posted Image

I just love the colouring on these ants. I am thinking they will make good little models for future photo shoots.
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#2 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 4 2014 - 5:58 AM

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Those are some cool looking ants. They seem to have a lot of the same characteristics Pogonomyrmex have, who also have a bad sting, strong exoskeleton and can't climb. The fact that they can't climb does make them pretty easy to keep.



#3 Offline Mathiacus - Posted July 4 2014 - 6:22 AM

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I'm on my phone, so may be difficult for me to do. But could you find out how far apart they are on the evolutionary tree? (No offense to any xtians)

#4 Offline Mathiacus - Posted July 4 2014 - 6:41 AM

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Ok, gave it a shot but this is all so new! If I read it correctly Pogonomyrmex is in subfamily myrminicae and ectatomminea is a sub family from the branch that they are on.

#5 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 4 2014 - 10:07 AM

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Oh, I wasn't implying that they are very closely related, just that they have a lot of the same characteristics.



#6 Offline Mathiacus - Posted July 4 2014 - 2:38 PM

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I know. But I suddenly NEEDED to know this information. Lol. I get like that. I found this.. Posted Image they are VERY closely related. I think... ;-)
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#7 Offline Mathiacus - Posted July 14 2014 - 7:05 PM

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I finally attacked the colony and I moved them into the half flat half upright nest I made for them. They have settled in quite well and are agressively destroying anything I fed them.

I was reading that this species has reproductive workers and that winged alates and dealate queens are almost non existent. . This nest had a bunch of alates and I even managed to find the dealate queen! No brood yet but I am slowly getting to the heart of the nest. I should have it cleared soon enough.

#8 Offline Mathiacus - Posted July 14 2014 - 7:34 PM

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One thing I have observed which may be VERY IMPORTANT for any aussies who want to keep this species.. the workers can not climb very well at all.. but the alates and dealates can climb quite well. If you have any of these (the dealates have very different antennae, kinda bow shaped and very long) you need to plan your escape prevention accordingly.

#9 Offline Mathiacus - Posted July 20 2014 - 9:54 PM

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The small outworld I had attached to the top of this formicarium had sand glued down in an attempt to pretty it up. I made the wrong choice of glue (pva) and it all turned Into a goopy mess that had to be scooped out. The green ants did not take kindly to this operation and turned out en-mass to prevent me from saving them from a future mould outbreak. I finally achieved my goal and they now have a mostly clean outworld. I avoided the stings and the hate they were sending my way. Lesson learned! I think I will give them a second, larger one with loose sand and pebbles. Will probably control the excess moisture problem I had.

#10 Offline Mathiacus - Posted July 31 2014 - 9:11 AM

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I have moved this colony into an all in one setup that I have made Posted Image

It looks a bit rough but with the 2cm of sand/gravel on top of the glass it actually came up pretty good. It was my first go at a larger glass project and things got broken, silicone was smeared everywhere and I generally made a mess of things. But my ants seem to love it!
I finished collecting this colony. I am sitting somewhere over 200 population. I just hope I have the reproductive worker. Time will tell.
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#11 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted July 31 2014 - 1:13 PM

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What material is that?



#12 Offline Mathiacus - Posted July 31 2014 - 2:05 PM

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Aac. Hebel brand here in aus. Inside an aqua one aquarium. On a brick wall. Pink chalk on bricks. Mild steel pipe in background. So much ambiguity! ; p

Sorry I just woke up. I sometimes think I am funny. It looks strange because I did not sand the face of the ytong block back much before I carved it.

#13 Offline Mathiacus - Posted August 9 2014 - 5:57 PM

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They habe been in this setup for one week now. They have spread out evenly into the drier areas of the bkock. I had made one mistake that almost made me abandon the whole project, I forgot one line of silicone. They have access to the water reservoir. I fixed this by keeping the water level higher than I had intended.

I am having trouble feeding these guys. They took a bunch of sesame seeds into the nest and I witnessed two munching on one once but that is the only tine I have seen them take food. I put a mangled cricket in there and their only response was to bash it to make sure it was all the way dead and then ignore it.

There have been sporadic outbreaks of violence amongst these girls. I think it may have something to do with the whole reproductive worker thing. There have been deaths but not too many. They are rather neat and place their (half eaten) dead as far as possible from the nest entrance.

I will update eventually if anything new happens

#14 Offline Mathiacus - Posted August 13 2014 - 11:40 PM

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I decided to do a bit of info hunting on this species. 100% confirmed that they reproduce through gamergates (reproductive workers). This might account for the large number of deaths which have mostly been the winged males. I am assuming they have been getting frisky then dying as males do.

I have decided to sacrifice this colony to some experimentation. I will attempt to document my experiments as best I can.

#15 Offline Mathiacus - Posted August 13 2014 - 11:59 PM

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I plan on splitting the colony into batches of 10 each will be labeled and put to a different test. I also plan on segregating single workers and pairs to test the addition of males from the parent colony and males from other colonies too. This will be done in test tubes.
As there is little to no information on the lifecycle of this species I will be timing the reproductive cycle (egg to adult) and counting populations to get a rough idea on colony growth (if the breeding is at all successful).

I plan on housing them in a variety of ways but I have my suspicions on which method will be most successful.

I am starting with a population that I think numbers around 300 but I guess ill have an accurate count soon. I will be sad to see this formicarium go, I spent so long on it. But you know.. for science and stuff ;-) plus I missed a bead of silicone so it floods anyway.

Please let me know if anyone is interested in reading about this process. I plan on keeping notes but writing up reports is not what I call fun. I plan on posting my results at the end so anyone who wants to can maybe learn. what do you say? Want updates on this or just results of testing? Have tests you want to see?

#16 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 14 2014 - 4:20 AM

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I vote for updates. :) Just like I do with my journals, I figure no matter how many people want to see them now, there will always be people in the future that may be looking for just that very information--usually someone who ends up finding the same species.



#17 Offline Mathiacus - Posted August 14 2014 - 4:47 AM

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Upon arrival home from work I got started. But first.. Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

The donor colony.

#18 Offline Mathiacus - Posted August 14 2014 - 5:03 AM

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Posted Image
My quasi scientific approach.
6 cups labeled and each with a very different sand based substrate.

1. Sifted river sand (flows like water when dry)

2. Brickies sand (high clay content, stiff out of the bag, hard to get it to fill crevaces)

3. Washed sand. (Also a little stiff, marked as suitable for kids sand pits , almost white, very crystalline)

4. 1/2 brickies 1/2 river (seems to have the best of both types, holds shape but fills crevaces easily enough)

5. 1/2 brickies 1/2 washed. (Has the worst of both)

6. 1/2 sifted river sand 1/2 washed sand. ( not much better than 5)

All are very similar amounts in identical cups with 4 pin holes in the bottom. They are resting in a tray filled with water. I have a vacuum reservoir to keep the water at a constant level (like an auto dog water bowl)

They all have the lid of a small Petrie dish that holds a soaked cotton ball. I placed 10 ants in each 1-4 got 10 that were foraging. 5 got 4 foragers and 6 that I had to provoke out of the nest by blowing into it through a straw. 6 got 10 provoked ants.

After removing 60 ants from my formicarium I can not notice the population drop.. I may have guessed the number wrong.

The idea behind this experiment is to test which substrate supports their digging activities the best. I know there are flaws but I am hoping that I can at least get some results.

Tomorrow I will check to see if I can grade the sands on their moisture absorption by checking how high the water has wicked up.

#19 Offline Mathiacus - Posted August 14 2014 - 5:16 AM

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Sorry for the post spam but I got a little excited! I decided to have a good look at the colony under a bright light when I found this girl carrying a cluster of eggs! I did not collect any eggs! A few larvae but no eggs! This colony IS a working colony! I will limit my tests to a further 40 ants and then look after this formicarium a little better. Sorry for the dirty glass.. she ran to where they keep their mouldy seeds.Posted Image

#20 Offline Crystals - Posted August 14 2014 - 6:11 AM

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Interesting experiment.  Workers who become reproductives.

 

You mentioned you missed a bead of silicone, can you post a picture of it?  There may be a way to fix it.  I have fixed a few of my "forgotten" sealing edges before.


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