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Hikari's C. Pennsylvanicus (& misc) journal

camponotus pennsylvanicus camponotus pennsylvanicus

54 replies to this topic

#41 Offline Hikari - Posted July 6 2017 - 10:11 PM

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Update time! Lots has happened!

- (7-5-17) Unfortunately, my Formica queen didn't make it. While she was perched over the brood, she apparently didn't tend to them, and they molded. It was hard for me to notice til it was too late. Oh well. I wasn't keeping my hopes up anyways.
I spent the afternoon looking in acorns I could find for more Temnothorax queens, since they'd just flown. Little did I realize just how many types of ants will live in acorns. I found a decent-sized Temnothorax curvispinosis colony, 5 small Myrmica sp. colonies, a small Ponera Pennsylvanica colony, and a founding Tapinoma sessile queen with eggs. I also found a Lasius umbratus queen (again) in the leaf litter while looking for said acorns. It's crazy. All those days looking on the pavement with few results, and I found all that in one afternoon of acorn-hunting, lol.

I actually really like the way the Ponera look, but I've heard they can be tricky to keep and there's not a lot of info on them. Still, I have learned that they need very high humidity and small soft-bodied invertebrate to eat, and I should be able to provide both. They currently have a special test tube, where I lined the bottom with damp cotton, bumped against the water plug so it stays wet. I can make them a bead container formicarium with the grout...those seem to absorb moisture really well. I'll need to hunt down some springtails or fruit flies for them though. They don't seem to care for the small piece of cut-up mealworm I've provided. I love the fact that their colonies stay super small though, around only 100 workers according to wikipedia. With as small as they are, they wouldn't need much space at all (much like the Temnothorax I caught too).

- (7-6-17) One of Maya's pupa looks darker than the rest. Kinda greyish. I hope that means I'll get my first nanitic soon. I've really been looking forward to that. I'll have to buy them a container to make into an outworld soon too. I plan on getting some tomorrow.

I also need to start deciding which species I really want to keep, and which I'll sell. I know Maya isn't going anywhere, so that's my C.pennsylvanicus. The Ponera and Temnothorax wouldn't get too big, so I could keep those two as well. The big debate is how many of the others I'd want to keep. The Lasius would be cool if I can find her brood. I've heard Tetramorium are also fun. I still have my heart set on a Formica though too. How many might be too many for a newbie though? I don't think six would be too much if two of them are extremely small, and it's not like the C. pennsylvanicus colony will be getting huge anytime soon either. It's mainly the Tetramorium's growth I'd have to worry about :P

Also need to decide if I want to split this journal into multiple smaller journals for individual colonies, or keep it as one collective journal.


Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#42 Offline Hikari - Posted July 7 2017 - 11:05 PM

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- (7-7-17) Maya's first nanitic eclosed today!

mU4oStb.jpg

I was a bit worried at first, cause earlier it appeared to still have a bit of cocoon wrapped around two of its hindlegs, but when I checked later, the offending piece had been removed. She was already hard at work helping mom with the rest of the brood. I put some honey on a piece of cotton in the formicarium for them, thinking maybe the nanitic would forage for it. Maya found it first, and after realizing it was not, in fact, an intruder, she started eating it. I imagine she was quite hungry at this point, so I'm not surprised.

Also today, I found a new Formica queen while I was out earlier, we'll see how things go with this one. Hopefully she's mated. Also found a 3 queen colony of what I think is a Solenopsis sp. (they're TINY). Most common in my area would be S. molesta. Took forever to round them up though, omg. 1/10 would not recommend. I probably wouldn't have bothered, but this is the first time I've found a multi-queen species. Still, if I keep going for these small ant species, I really should think about investing in an aspirator. I'm making them a small specially-made bead container formicarium, cause otherwise they're going to be impossible to feed. They try and escape the test tube as soon as I pull away the cotton.

I also think I need to stop collecting new ants for a bit til I figure out what I'm going to do with the ones I have... So many species...so many choices...


Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#43 Offline antking117 - Posted July 7 2017 - 11:15 PM

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Formica Picture :), congrats with the nanatic! I wish i had a colony of those, but sadly i don't! also pictures of the solenopsis? id like to see a multi queen colony of those aswell!


Youtube: Holmindustries 117

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#44 Offline Hikari - Posted July 8 2017 - 11:05 AM

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Formica Picture :), congrats with the nanatic! I wish i had a colony of those, but sadly i don't! also pictures of the solenopsis? id like to see a multi queen colony of those aswell!

Wasn't gonna post pics, but since you asked... XD

Here's my new Fomica queen. She's actually since laid an egg!

iJ8pSPv.jpg

 

jOaSsQL.jpg

And here's the most-likely Solenopsis

e958Z55.jpg

You can see the three queens near the cotton-fabric stopper. The workers themselves are only about 1mm, so even though the queens are rather tiny too, they stand out. This could be a fun species to keep if I can keep them contained.


Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#45 Offline Nathant2131 - Posted July 8 2017 - 11:09 AM

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Love the Solenopsis :) I hope to keep a thief-ant species some day.



#46 Offline Hikari - Posted July 9 2017 - 8:56 PM

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- (7-9-17) Maya's second nanitic eclosed late in the night. She's still getting her bearings. Her mom and older sister are taking good care of her. I have a feeling I might be seeing a third in a day or two, as there's still one more very dark pupa left. I have a small outworld ready for them. I'll set it up tomorrow once the new little one is steady on her feet.

I made mini-outworlds for all my test tube colonies (except the solenopsis, cause I'm afraid they'd escape). It's much easier to feed them now. The Lasius umbratus queen is still trying to convince the Lasius workers I found that she's in charge. It's been a struggle. She's still getting attacked from time to time, and one of her antennae has been injured, but there haven't been any deaths yet either. You'd think for a queen that has a big head and mandibles for fighting back, you'd think she'd put them in her place, but she's kind of a wimp. Haven't seen her even try and fight back once. Still wishing I could find brood, but for as many Lasius worker ants I've found, I can't seem to find any.

I found a food the Solenopsis like. Canned dog food. They went right for it. Guess that'll hold them over til I can order some fruit flies for them (I have to wait til payday on Friday). Meanwhile, trying to feed the Ponera has proven difficult. I've looked up what they eat, but no luck getting them to eat it so far. I left some pre-killed prey in their new formicarium I made (a mini-bead container version), and I'll see if maybe they pick at it overnight. Wish they'd have taken to the cut-up mealworms. Oh well. I'll go hunting for other small bugs they might like tomorrow too.

Still trying to figure out a formicarium solution for the Solenopsis. I was gonna use a bead container set-up til I realized they'll be able to fit in the part where the bead containers screw together. They're THAT small. x.x In the meantime, they're confined to their test tube. If I can't think of anything, I'll probably sell them. Once I know all the wild-caught colonies are adapting well to captivity, I plan to list them (except the Ponera. I'm keeping those). Currently no plans to keep the Myrmica, though they eat like champs, and probably would be easy enough. It's fine though. I'm sure if I change my mind, I could probably just go raid more acorns for more later.


Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#47 Offline antking117 - Posted July 9 2017 - 9:17 PM

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Man, i want to buy a camponotus pennsylvinicus colony, i missed the flight this year :(


Youtube: Holmindustries 117

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#48 Offline Hikari - Posted July 13 2017 - 7:37 PM

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- (7-13-17) Maya is up to 5 workers. They're all pretty skittish, so it's hard for me to get pics. Every time I try, as soon as any sort of brighter light hits them they're like ASDFGHJKL and try and grab brood and run. ^^; So as much as I want to take pics, I have refrained from doing so. Maybe once they settle down a little, I can. One or two seem to have taken charge of being the foragers, since I see them with the biggest gasters. I left them a piece of mealworm, and one of them dragged it into the formicarium. They're still working on it. Hope they at least remember to dump it back into the outworld when they're done. I can take the lid off the formicarium, but I'd like to avoid doing so. As long as it doesn't get moldy, I guess.

Meanwhile, I've made the S. molesta a small grout formicarium in a small plastic cylinder (it's a bead container). I'm trying to "persuade" them to move into it right now, but they don't seem too fazed by the light at the moment. Their test tube is rather icky already, from both the dirt I picked up from capture and the fact that their favorite thing to eat at the moment seems to be wet dog food. I'd much rather them be in a slightly bigger set-up that's easier for me to put their food on a small piece of foil to keep it clean.

The Ponera are still alive, despite the fact that I've never once seen them eat anything I've offered them. Guess that means maybe they are still eating at least some of it? Either way, I get paid tomorrow, so I'll be ordering some tiny wingless fruit flies for them (and the other ants too). I can also stop by Petsmart and grab some small crickets for the bigger ants. I plan on freezing the latter for ease of use. That'll give all the ants a bit more variety besides mealworms. Once the colonies get big enough, I can consider keeping dubia roaches, but I'm no where near needing them just yet.

Oh yeah, I put in a thing to get listed on the GAN site. Here's hoping I get accepted! I just have the Myrmica and Temnothorax for now, but I'll have other species soon enough.

Hoping to find more queens throughout the summer. I'm not a morning person at all, but it has been perfect nuptial flight weather here, so I really should try and drag myself out of bed one of these mornings and go anting. I wish they all could just fly at night so I could be lazy and use my blacklight :P I haven't been able to set up my light the past few nights anyways though, for fear of it getting rained on :/


Edited by Hikari, July 13 2017 - 7:38 PM.

Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#49 Offline Hikari - Posted July 16 2017 - 6:45 PM

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- (7-16-17) Quick updates:
 
- Camponotus are doing well. Maya's nanitics don't seem to be picky, and have eaten anything I've given them so far, though seem to favor the mealworms. Terra has a pupa, so she's catching up. Freya might have one too, but she's moved her brood where it's too hard to see, and stands over them. The bead container formicarium do have their downsides.
 
- Lasius umbratus queen #2 didn't make it. She was acting really strange beforehand, running in circles. Wondering if she was sick or something. Pity, since it seemed she was getting along with the workers after she finally killed the one causing problems.
 
- I plan on releasing the Solonopsis molesta once weather permits. They are just too tiny and hard to manage.
 
- I broke down and bought D. hydrei fruit flies at Petsmart after seeing how cheap they were for a culture, only $6.99, and there was a good mix of adults and larva. I gave them to all my current colonies. It looks like I finally found something the Ponera will eat! I dropped some in at night, and the next morning, I saw they'd been moved closer to where the larva are kept. They seem to be doing well. Still hoping to find other food sources for them, just to be able to mix things up and provide proper nutrition. The Myrmica aren't picky, but also do seem to like the smaller fruit flies.
 
- Speaking of Myrmica, I found two queens of a different species from the ones I currently have. I really like their coloration. Pity I can't seem to identify to a species level, but I hear it's hard for that genus (kinda like Formica too). Here's pics of the one:
 
ZyPYUky.jpg
 
LtsMtU9.jpg
 
- Also caught two more Tetramorium queens
 
Current colony/queen count:
 
3 Camponotus Pennsylvanicus
1 Formica sp.
1 Tapinoma sessile
5 Myrmica sp. #1
11 Temnothorax curvispinosus
1 Ponera pennsylvanica
3 Tetramorium sp. e
2 Myrmica sp. #2
 
Thankfully, most of these are still founding queens. Really looking forward to the Formica getting nanitics. She's on my "species I really want to keep" list.

Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#50 Offline Hikari - Posted July 19 2017 - 1:12 PM

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- (7-19-17) Well, I am tired, lol. Spent yesterday at a park, caught one new queen I am suspecting is Monomorium minimum. I'm planning on finally getting a macro lens for my phone to take better ant pics instead of fumbling with the magnifying lens.

After the running around the park, I nearly pulled an all-nighter at the blacklight as well. Made it to 3am before I finally had to crash for a bit. Nothing new flew around sunrise though, when I finally took down the trap. The wild Camponotus workers seemed to enjoy the buffet it provided them in the early morning though. I saw so many running off with the bugs the blacklight had attracted. Overall, caught around a dozen new Temnothorax curvispinosus queens. I think I have over 20 at this point, so I don't think I'll be keeping any more. I finally needed to buy more test tubes. Decided to just buy 100 13mm ones since I'm sure I'll go through them all eventually anyways. I seem to have the most luck finding the smaller species around here. But next time, I need to decide between park hunt OR late-night blacklighting...doing both in the same day/night is pretty exhausting, lol.

I do hope more species fly soon. I know Myrmica have started flying in my general area, but doesn't look like the ones in my yard have just yet. I know I still have time though. Still bummed I've yet to catch any sort of Formica flight. Would like to catch more.

Oh yeah, and I guess I should mention, I am officially a GAN farmer for Ohio now. Yay! Not as much to offer now, but by fall, I'm thinking I should have workers from most of my queens, and will be able to list them.

 


Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#51 Offline Hikari - Posted July 19 2017 - 10:22 PM

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I made my first video update for Maya! I was super surprised. She's up to 8 nanitics already! I hadn't been able to see because of the condensation on the formicarium.


Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#52 Offline xTNxANTMANx - Posted July 20 2017 - 12:16 AM

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I see you have a lot of condensation on the lid of that formicarium. I don't seem to have that problem with mine. Do you keep yours close to a heating cable for something? I just keep mine in an an air-conditioned room and it stays roughly 75 to 80 degrees most of the time. Your Colony looks really good though. I think my best camponotus pennsylvanicus has 10 new workers now. I can't wait for my castaneus to get her first workers which should be any day

#53 Offline Hikari - Posted July 20 2017 - 4:24 PM

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I see you have a lot of condensation on the lid of that formicarium. I don't seem to have that problem with mine. Do you keep yours close to a heating cable for something? I just keep mine in an an air-conditioned room and it stays roughly 75 to 80 degrees most of the time. Your Colony looks really good though. I think my best camponotus pennsylvanicus has 10 new workers now. I can't wait for my castaneus to get her first workers which should be any day

 

It's the heat that causes it. I keep them on a heating pad around 85°F. They love it and stack the brood on the side as close to the hottest part as they can get. Downside is all that condensation. Debating on putting a metal mesh vent into the top of their formicarium lid to help alleviate the problem by helping to ventilate things better. I'd probably just have to refill the water tower more often to compensate for the additional evaporation. I have to keep my ants near some sort of heat source, since my family keeps the house mercilessly AC'd during the summer. My room's AC vent is also weird and hard to block off. I've tried. I hate it as much as the ants probably do, cause I get cold easily.

Good luck with your ants! I saw you caught a Formica subsericea queen. Gorgeous species, love their silver sheen. I wish you luck with her, as well as your imminent Castaneus nanitics. :D


Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#54 Offline Hikari - Posted July 21 2017 - 7:50 PM

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- (7-21-17) So, I had fun at the park today. Didn't find any queens, but I found other ant activities going on that caught my attention.



Ant raid! I've been told the raiders are Formica aserva, and the ones being raided might be Formica subsericea. I'm just glad I got the genus right  :D 

Funny enough, while I didn't find any queens at the park, I did find one today. Accidentally dug her up while doing something else, lol. I found her eggs too, at least, and put them in all test tube. I'm thinking she's a Lasius? At least if she's laid her own eggs, I figure she's not a parasitic species (FINALLY, as I have had zero luck with those). I took pics of her with my new cell phone macro lens, and seeing as she kept relatively still, I got some decent shots. Still hard to focus through the test tubes sometimes though.

YiNaOto.jpg

9gTgz5w.jpg

Also, thanks to my new lens, I have to rethink the species of the tiny 3mm queen I caught over the weekend. Thought she might be Monomorium minimum, but turns out she's actually probably Temnothorax longispinosus. The macro lens revealed a set of spines on my tiny queen, which I couldn't make out with my magnifying lens. I took the best pics I could, but she was zooming all over the test tube, and it was a small miracle I got pics at all. At this point, she's laid a small batch of eggs.

oeuebOw.jpg
(seriously though, look at those spines)

TFb9Ch0.jpg
(almost managed to focus in on her teeny face)

I wonder how many species I'll end up with by summer's end? lol

Oh, also, if you want to see an explanation video on how to make those bead formicarium I have, they're on my YouTube channel as well. I decided to make my ant playlist public (instead of hidden). I'm sure the people who subscribed to me for game vids will probably be super confused, but seeing as I haven't been able to upload any new game vids for years now, I don't feel so bad about the random change of pace.


Edited by Hikari, July 21 2017 - 8:02 PM.

Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal


#55 Offline Hikari - Posted Yesterday, 6:56 PM

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- (7-25-17) Not much to report. Lost my newer Myrmica queen. Forgot they were semi-claustral  :facepalm: Ugh...such a stupid newbie mistake. Anyways, all the other ants seem to be doing well. Lately, I've been trying to think of a good way to do a dirt set-up for my Ponera, just because I think they'd like it more. While they seem to be doing alright, I haven't once seen the queen lay any new eggs since I got her. Downside is I don't know if they actively dig, or just happen to take advantage of already dug tunnels or spaces under rocks, so I don't know how I would set it up. If they do dig, I also need to think of a way where they aren't gonna disappear so I can keep tabs on them. I need to try researching more.z

 

Haven't been out ant hunting since the temp dropped the past two days after a bunch of rain, but it might warm up tomorrow enough to make running the balcklight tomorrow night work it.

Current ant count:
3 Camponotus Pennsylvanicus

1 Formica sp.
1 Tapinoma sessile
5 Myrmica sp.
20-ish Temnothorax curvispinosus (need to recount)
1 Ponera pennsylvanica
4 Tetramorium sp. e

1 Tetramorium longispinosus
1 Lasius sp.?


Edited by Hikari, Yesterday, 6:57 PM.

Keeper of one lazy Basset Hound, a stubborn corn snake, several fish and bettas, and four C. pennsylvanicus queens.

My ant journal






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