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Dspdrew's Myrmecocystus wheeleri Journal [234] (Updated 6-8-2019)

dspdrew journal myrmecocystus wheeleri honeypot ants

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22 replies to this topic

#1 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 18 2017 - 4:20 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

3-18-2017

 

Location:  San Juan Loop Trail, Cleveland National Forest, California
Habitat:  Oak forest, chaparral
Coloration, hue and pattern:  All red
Length:  5 mm

 

Original ID Thread: http://www.formiculture.com/topic/62-

 

I've been trying to get a colony of these since I first saw and learned about them four years ago. They are a honeypot ant species that is not seen very often, which of course made finding a queen extremely difficult... but I finally did. :D

 

I knew honeypot ants were flying in the local foothills earlier this year after all the rain we had gotten, so I figured there was a good chance this particular species was flying as well. It was March 16th 2017 when I headed out to a trail right off Ortega Highway in the Santa Ana Mountains where I knew there are an abundance of them. It took so long to get there in traffic that I was left with only 20 minutes of daylight after getting there. Surprisingly, I spotted a founding chamber, and after a few scoops dirt, out popped the queen.

 

It was one of the strangly-colored queens that always seem to turn out to be M. mimicus, so I initially posted about it on my M. mimicus journal, but now that its workers have eclosed, I can see it is exactly what I had hoped it was--Myrmecocystus wheeleri! If it wasn't for all the M. mimicus queens I found in the past with these exact same colors, I would have immediately assumed it was M. wheeleri. I guess this also means the orange and black colored colony I have been posting on my M. mimicus journal is probably a different species as well.

 

From original post:

 

The only other species I think it could be is M. wheeleri, one I have always waned to find. The area I was at is loaded with them, and was actually the main reason I went there. I guess we'll find out once the workers arrive.

 

She laid two eggs before I even got her in her "dirt box". She had one of them with her here.

 

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She seems healthy so far, as she had her new chamber dug and closed up the next day.

 

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  • CrazyLegs likes this

#2 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 10 2017 - 6:13 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 5-10-2017
 
I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to update (or create actually) this journal, even after the queen got her first workers, AND I discovered they were a species I have been trying to find for years.

 

The first workers eclosed 4-27-2017, and now the colony has around fifteen or so.

 

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  • CrazyLegs likes this

#3 Offline SoySauce - Posted May 10 2017 - 6:43 AM

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Wow! That's wesome Drew! Hopefully my two will hatch soon too!

#4 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 9 2017 - 1:24 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 7-9-2017
 
This colony has about 40 workers now and seems to be doing great. They've built themselves a nice little mound nest entrance in their dirt box.



#5 Offline AntsCalifornia - Posted December 4 2017 - 9:24 PM

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Any more updates or pics? From your last post it seems like they should be a decent size now.



#6 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 4 2017 - 9:45 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 12-4-2017
 
There isn't much news to report with this colony. I have never seen such reclusive ants before. I haven't seen them out of their nest in months. It's just always closed up. They do look like they have drank from the feeder though, so they must be sneaking out some time. It's funny because that is pretty much the way they are in the wild too. They're not seen too often.



#7 Offline dspdrew - Posted January 28 2018 - 4:05 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 1-28-2018
 
I've been trying to get this colony to move into a new large Dirt Box setup for over a month now. They simply won't move until their nest completely dries out, but even then sometimes they still won't move and end up dying instead. I keep adding water because I'm afraid they're going to die when it starts getting too dry and they aren't budging. I'm now going to try a different approach. Since these are connected at the out world surface level, I'm going to see if I can flood them out slowly.



#8 Offline dspdrew - Posted January 31 2018 - 7:18 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 1-31-2018
 
I dumped this colony into their new Dirt Box. I noticed they didn't have any new brood for quite some time now. After dumping them out, I can see they don't have any brood at all, and I think I know why. The queen looks like she might be dying, and that's probably why she hasn't been laying any eggs. The colony has about 20 workers.



#9 Offline AntsCalifornia - Posted February 1 2018 - 6:56 PM

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That sucks, every time. Hopefully you'll get one huge colony of some species someday.



#10 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 1 2018 - 7:23 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

That sucks, every time. Hopefully you'll get one huge colony of some species someday.

 

I have multiple huge colonies.



#11 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 18 2018 - 10:49 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 2-18-2018
 
This colony has been doing a lot of work on their nest. They dug their nest out quite a bit and built up a pretty good-sized mound. The queen looks like she might be okay, but she still hasn't produced any more brood.

 

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#12 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 17 2018 - 9:08 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 3-17-2018
 
Unfortunately, I just found the queen dead.



#13 Offline nurbs - Posted March 18 2018 - 9:19 AM

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This was one of your favorite pots!


Instagram:

nurbsants

 

YouTube

 

California Ants for Sale

 

Camponotus us-ca02

http://www.formicult...onotus-us-ca02/

 

Pencil Case and Test Tube Formicariums

http://www.formicult...m-and-outworld/

 

Bloodworm Soup

http://www.formicult...bloodworm-soup/


#14 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 18 2018 - 12:54 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

This was one of your favorite pots!

 

It sure was.



#15 Offline AntsCalifornia - Posted March 18 2018 - 2:40 PM

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ever get alates with this species?



#16 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 18 2018 - 4:14 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

ever get alates with this species?

 

No. I only had it for a year.



#17 Offline KooYon - Posted August 2 2018 - 10:10 AM

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Can you share what type of acrylic containers those are? They look perfect for ant keeping.


Currently Keeping:

 

Pogonomyrmex Barbatus 4 queens each with eggs

Pogonomyrmex Rugosus 1 queen with eggs

Camponotus Festinatus 1 queen with eggs

Myrmecocystus Placodops or Mendax 1 queen with eggs

Atta Texana 8 queens with fungus


#18 Offline Kujawaorchids - Posted August 2 2018 - 12:30 PM

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You can get them from the container store. At least I do.


Mikhail Kujawa

 

www.KujawaOrchids.com

 

My pictures on flickr

 

Lots of ant species!

 

 


#19 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 2 2018 - 7:07 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Can you share what type of acrylic containers those are? They look perfect for ant keeping.

 

http://www.formicult...rchasing-guide/



#20 Offline dspdrew - Posted April 5 2019 - 12:40 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Update 4-5-2019
 
I just found seven more of these queens this year, in the exact same spot I did the first time. I guessed the exact day they would fly again. :thanks: This time it was 4-1-2019, during a very mild heatwave with temperatures only reaching about 80 degrees. Most of them were still in the process of digging their nests when I found them, and judging by the amount of progress they had made, they probably flew sometime in the morning.

 

I put all seven of them in my Dirt Box formicariums, and by the end of the next day, they all had their nests dug and were in the process of sealing them off.

 

This one here had a dead Camponotus anthrax major clamped onto one of its front legs. It was a bit of a process, but I finally removed it. The amazing thing is this queen actually managed to dig a nest like this.

 

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