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Mid-Atlantic Anting Thread


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#1 Offline VoidElecent - Posted May 18 2017 - 6:20 AM

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Similar to the Midwest and New England area anting threads, I've decided to publish one for the Mid-Atlantic area, specifically East Coast Mid-Atlantic states Like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Of course, if you're in Maryland, Delaware or even Virginia, feel free to stop by.

 

The purpose of this thread is to document ant activity in the Mid-Atlantic area, if you stumble upon a flight or just see workers heavily foraging, feel free to share some of what you've found. Since it's pretty much the beginning of the anting season, I expect this thread to explode in the coming months!

 

Happy Anting!


Edited by VoidElecent, July 11 2017 - 5:48 AM.

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#2 Offline Evanthomas89 - Posted May 18 2017 - 8:21 AM

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I'd love to meet other's from NJ and possibly go out anting together. 

 

Howell, NJ here. 


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#3 Offline VoidElecent - Posted May 18 2017 - 11:32 AM

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Nylanderia have flown heavily the past two days, Bracc. and I caught 11 queens during a flight yesterday, and another from the same area today. They're beautiful! We put two in the same tube last night to test their polygyny, and they had laid an egg within 2 hours of putting them in a test-tube setup.

 

Still determining whether they're N. flavipes or N. terricola, updates coming later today.

 

Blacklight arriving later today, will set it up tonight and share results.


Edited by VoidElecent, July 11 2017 - 5:48 AM.

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To the lepers in your head?"

#4 Offline Chandlerk - Posted May 18 2017 - 1:59 PM

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From Maryland.

Going out to check soon, I will post any activity or flights I observe here.

Good luck this anting season!



#5 Offline Spamdy - Posted May 18 2017 - 2:21 PM

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Grrr, no Texas anting thread...

Queens:
 
 * Pseudomyrmex gracilis (1)
 * Solenopsis xyloni (2)
 * Tapinoma melanocephalum (1)
 *Pheidole cf. constipata (1)
 
Colonies:
 
 * Camponotus pennsylvanicus (1)
 *Pheidole cf. constipata (1)

* Brachymyrmex depilis (2)


#6 Offline VoidElecent - Posted May 18 2017 - 3:22 PM

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Bracc. and I went out today to strip bark off fallen logs in the hopes that we come across Camponotus queens who've dug chambers. We found nothing but several Tapinoma sessile satellite nests. 

 

Anyways, black light is set up. Will be hoping for Camponotus nearcticus, C. caryae, C. pennsylvanicus, C. castaneus and Colobopsis mississippiensis. May be a little early to find C. castaneus and C. mississippiensis, but I might as well try my luck.

 

edit: Been black-lighting all night, haven't found a single ant. Nathan says he caught a number of Camponotus Myrmetoma queens in MA, I'm thinking we must have missed them down here.


Edited by VoidElecent, May 18 2017 - 6:10 PM.

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To the lepers in your head?"

#7 Offline Kevin - Posted May 22 2017 - 4:12 PM

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The only thing that has flown here in South Jersey is Camponotus chromaidodes, and most of the queens died overnight because it got freezing cold out.


Still developing formicaria, we shall see what I create.


#8 Offline MrILoveTheAnts - Posted May 27 2017 - 7:50 PM

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Temnothorax%20americanus%20cf.jpg

First off, I found what I thought to be Temnothorax americanus in my yard, but now believe is Temnothorax longispinosus which is not a slave maker but still a new species. 

 

Secondly, the wildflowers Twinleaf, Bloodroot, and Woodland Poppy are all going to seed.

 

Twinleaf%20bloom%205.jpg

Crematogaster%20cerasi%20twinleaf%20seed

Twinleaf is odd because it would almost rather clone itself, opening with the anthers basically contacting the stigma practically. The flower itself also only lasts 8 hours to 2 good day. Sometimes bad weather makes the petals fall off, and sometimes it makes the flower close up for a day to extend the bloom time beyond two days, though no pollination actually happens unless the flower is open. In the event of pollination the packets of elaiosome on the seed will be larger though looking at the seeds I have to say there's barely any on the seeds at all.

 

Bloodroot%20double%202.jpg

Woodland%20Poppy.jpg

Bloodroot and Woodland Poppy are far better about flowering and attracting pollinators. Bloodroot flowers are open for about 4 to 7 days. Double-flowering varieties seem to last longer but forfeit reproductive structures thus producing fewer seeds. 

 

Woodland Poppy is still flowering now even though the earliest blooms have already started to form seed pods that are now sprouting open.

 

Tapinoma%20sessile%20seeds.jpg

Bloodroot seeds (left) are fat and round much like popcorn kernels. The elaiosome is long and fleshy like some sort of slug. Woodland Poppy seeds (right) are tiny.The elaiosome resembles a fleshy body of tentacles, for lack of a better term. It's like each seed is wearing a Mohawk of goo.

 

Tapinoma%20sessile%20bloodroot%20seed%20

Tapinoma%20sessile%20bloodroot%20seed%20

Tapinoma%20sessile%20bloodroot%20seed.jp

/Tapinoma%20sessile%20poppy%20seed%202.jpg.html]Tapinoma%20sessile%20poppy%20seed%202.jp[/URL]

Aphaenogaster%20rudis%20poppy%20seed%203

Tapinoma%20sessile%20poppy%20seed.jpg

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It was neat watching the ants try to handle the food. Two species, Tapinoma sessile and Aphaenogaster rudis found the seeds. A. rudis was more than capable of carrying both seeds back to their nest. T. sessile is not, however, I was surprised to see some of them were carrying the Woodland Poppy seeds home. Overall though T. sessile treated them as a food source instead of a food item. They actually cut little chunks of elaiosome and carried it off that way. 

 

Aphaenogaster%20rudis%20poppy%20seed%204

Aphaenogaster%20rudis%20poppy%20seed.jpg


Edited by MrILoveTheAnts, May 28 2017 - 10:07 AM.

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#9 Offline MrILoveTheAnts - Posted June 8 2017 - 7:48 PM

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I've been given permission to collect ants at the Mt. Cuba Center in DE. I'm really excited for this but only managed to get half of it done. I'm going back this Sunday (weather pending) to complete the collecting.

 

The Mt. Cuba Center is a former DuPont estate. Originally it was a mansion on a hill in the middle of a corn field. When the former owner moved in she had it turned into a vast woodland garden focused on native plants (with a few nonnative ornamental plants here and there) Over the last 50 years or so it's turned into a very well established native plant garden with thousands of species represented.

 

Today the Mt. Cuba Center is open to the public as a botanic garden, offering classes and scenic views to enjoy. It's not as big as Longwood Gardens, nor is it overly designed; all the paths can be walked in a half hour, so it's better for people who know about the plants they're looking at. Plants are arranged to be somewhat natural occurring in a clump somewhere for labeling purposes and then in sweeps and drifts with other plants they might grow along side in nature. They're designed more to appear natural instead of brilliant color combinations. 

 

Being a formal garden I was restricted to the pathways. Obviously I wasn't allowed to dig either. My method was simply to set out several dozen index cards, held in place with a wooden skewer. Honey was placed on one side, and ground up pecan sandies were on the other. All were let out at least an hour and then cleaned up. Most cards were left out for several hours because I can only be in so many places at once. 

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Formica%20sub%202.jpg

Mt%20Cuba%20Formica%20sub.jpg

Formica subsericea dominated their meadow garden area. Every bait I set out was covered in them and they rarely played nice with other ants. Seriously one Polyergus queen could dramatically change the balance of power with this place because there were hundreds of nests.

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Formica%20Temnothorax.jpg

Smaller species like Temnothorax curvipinosus they didn't seem to mind but others like Nylanderia they seemed to tear apart on sight.

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Temnothorax%20curvipinosus.j

I wasn't at all surprised to find this species there. Out in the meadow they were likely nesting in last year's plant stems.

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Temnothorax%20texture.jpg

In the woods though they nest in other types of dead wood structures. 

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Temnothorax%20curvipinosus%2

The benches they have there are like some sort of recovered wood which they seed with moss and lichen in all the places you're don't sit on. I found one colony had shaped the lichen around the entrance to their nest.

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Monomorium%202.jpg

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One of the benches by the pond area was atop a patio of red bricks. This was the only spot I found Monomorium nesting (so far). They likely used some sort of leveling sandy under and between the bricks when they built the patio and then a Monomorium queen came along.

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Solenopsis%20molesta%202.jpg

Mt%20Cuba%20Solenopsis%20molesta.jpg

I completely forgot how small Solenopsis molesta is. Temnothorax curvipinosus are twice as big!

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Aphaenogaster%202.jpg

Aphaenogaster rudis was extremely common in their woodland.

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Aphaenogaster%204.jpg

They're so common in fact that I was accidentally starting wars between colonies.

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Aphaenogaster%203.jpg

At no point did I actually witness ants dying or landing direct stings on one another. Their actions were more displays of aggression. They posture themselves to seem as tall as possible, open their mandibles and rear their gaster forward with the stinger exposed and ready to strike. (They might have been flicking venom on one another but it was hard to tell.)

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Camponotus%20chrom.jpg

Camponotus chromaiodes and C. pennsylvanicus were in a few places but not all that common in the areas I checked for them.

 

Mt%20Cuba%20Camponotus%20americanus%202.

I also collected a single Camponotus americanus worker.

 

I'll post back later with a complete species list of the ants I found. Also my weekly "This Week in Anting" series will be delayed a week. I'd rather release this as all one episode instead of two.


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#10 Offline Bracchymyrmex - Posted June 10 2017 - 3:36 PM

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Already mentioned this in the MA anting thread so I apologize for the repetition, regardless, Tetramorium are flying in PA (they flew last night and I am expecting a larger flight tonight).


  • Colonies or Queens available for adoption:

    • Camponotus pennsylvanicus (2x) 
    • Prenolepis imparis (6x) 
    • Crematogaster cf. cerasi (12x)
    • Brachymyrmex depilis (18x) 
    • Myrmica spp. (2x)
    • Pheidole bicarinata (1x)
    • Solenopsis molesta (10x)
    • Temnathorax curvispinosus (x15)
    • Temnathorax ambiguus (x10)
    • Forelius pruinosus (x3)
    • Myrmecina americana (x1)
    • Formica pallidefulva (x1)

#11 Offline VoidElecent - Posted June 11 2017 - 6:50 AM

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Yes! Tetramorium are flying heavily! We found 27 female alates (don't know if they're mated yet) an 2 dealates in our neighbor's pool this morning.


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To the lepers in your head?"

#12 Offline Martialis - Posted June 11 2017 - 6:55 AM

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Wow! If they're flying here, I'm missing them.



#13 Offline VoidElecent - Posted June 11 2017 - 6:58 AM

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Wow! If they're flying here, I'm missing them.

 

They're honestly very hard to miss; I'd recommend checking a nearby pool. However like I said, we caught 27 winged queens from a pool today but I'm frankly unsure that any of them are mated.

 

We caught an alate from the pool yesterday, but her eggs are scattered and she hasn't shed her wings. She's likely infertile.  :/


Edited by VoidElecent, June 11 2017 - 6:59 AM.

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To the lepers in your head?"

#14 Offline Martialis - Posted June 11 2017 - 7:36 AM

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Thanks for the advice! Just checked my weather and I doubt anything will fly today. We've got 17mph winds with 30 mph gusts, pretty constant, too.



#15 Offline MrILoveTheAnts - Posted June 19 2017 - 5:12 PM

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New%20Jersey%20Tea%20Caterpillar%20Campo

Found a Spring Azure caterpillar on my New Jersey Tea plant.

 

New%20Jersey%20Tea%20Caterpillar%20Campo

They're a generalist on the flowers to certain plants. They can also be found on Dogwood and Sourwood flowers, which are all clusters of small white flowers that likely lack any sort of protective chemicals the plant is likely pumping into its leaves.

 

New%20Jersey%20Tea%20Camponotus%20subbar

As they occur on plants, they draw the attention of ants who protect them, and mysteriously stop stealing nectar from the flowers and start licking the secretions of the caterpillar. The caterpillar is consuming the flower so it's not that great of a trade off for the plant.

 

Some species of caterpillars like this have to over winter inside of ant nests to survive, adding a level of complexity to that makes them all the more rare. While the caterpillar is in the ant nest, they turn carnivorous and feed on the ant's brood.

 

Tapinoma%20Caterpillar%20Fly%202.jpg

Also noticed a type of fly that feeds on ant prey second hand.

 

Tapinoma%20Caterpillar%20Fly.jpg

In Africa there are flies that have to do this to survive but they wait for ants to raid Termite mounds. Since I learned about this behavior I've been trying to keep an eye out for it here in the US. Often documentaries like to travel to the far off places of the world to show some amazing behavior... that you can see right in your own backyard.

 


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#16 Offline VoidElecent - Posted June 20 2017 - 4:41 PM

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So cool Milta! Your shots of the C. subbarbatus on your tea plant are beautiful. I am very glad someone is using this thread, I've found your posts to be very helpful.


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"Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus
To the lepers in your head?"

#17 Offline MrILoveTheAnts - Posted June 20 2017 - 5:10 PM

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Spring%20Azure%20New%20Jersey%20Tea_2.jp

Took a few more today. Apparently my plant has maybe a dozen caterpillars on it. The black part is the caterpillar's head.

 

Spring%20Azure%20Camponotus%20subbarbatu

Their texture is meant to make them harder to spot, but now that all the flowers are falling off the shrub, it's more apparent where they are, not to mention the clusters of ants that are always around them.

 

New%20Jersey%20Tea%20Caterpillar%20Campo

New%20Jersey%20Tea%20Caterpillar%20Campo

 

New%20Jersey%20Tea%20Caterpillar%20Wasp_

I came so close to getting a shot of a parasitic wasp jamming an egg into one. The ants protected it though and sent the wasp on its way. Basically the wasp larva consumes the caterpillar from the inside out and instead of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, a parasitic wasp comes out instead.



#18 Offline MrILoveTheAnts - Posted June 29 2017 - 6:43 PM

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Temnothorax has been flying all week. I believe I have at least three species at the light in my yard.

 

Temnothorax%20longispinosus%20queen%201.

Temnothorax longispinosus queen and a male Temnothorax, likely one of the other two species.

 

Temnothorax%20longispinosus%20queen.jpg

Temnothorax%20longispinosus%20queen%202.

These photos were touched up a bit to bright out some of the details. T. longispinosus queens look solid black in person (and without magnification.)

 

Temnothorax%20cur%20queen.jpg

The slightly larger and more colorful Temnothorax curvipinosus queen. This is one of the most common species in the US.

 

Temnothorax%20cf%20schaumii%20queen.jpg

Also a noticeably smaller one I believe to be Temnothorax schaumii Temnothorax ambiguus


Edited by MrILoveTheAnts, July 2 2017 - 9:00 AM.

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#19 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted June 30 2017 - 3:07 AM

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Nice. We should be finding Temnothorax in MA soon then.



#20 Offline MrILoveTheAnts - Posted June 30 2017 - 6:39 PM

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Temnothorax%20alates.jpg

Another Temnothorax filled night at the black light.

 

Temnothorax%20schaumii%203.jpg

Found lots of wingless queens tonight, saw lots of mating too. Caught what I think is a T. schaumii Temnothorax ambiguus queen too.

 

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This is the second time I've seen this happen. At first I thought this must be two different species mating but now I'm thinking the males are just a different color.

 

Beetles%20Its%20all%20alright.jpg

Though he did eye the Grapevine Beetle fondly.


Edited by MrILoveTheAnts, July 1 2017 - 12:53 PM.

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