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Multiple Lasius niger Queens - An Experiment

experiment lasius niger multiple queens

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8 replies to this topic

#1 Offline AndersT - Posted August 7 2017 - 9:54 AM

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First off, I want to note that I realize this experiment might seem cruel to some. I understand this, as I realize the consequences will undoubtedly be the death of quite a few queens. However, it should be remembered that this - at least to my understanding - is not something unheard of in nature, which is why I'm choosing to test it out.

 

One queen was caught the 24th of July, at around noon. 

 

The remaining 7 queens were caught the 1st of August, at midday.

 

My garden was swarmed with hundreds of queens, all trying to find holes, cracks and crevices to hide in.

 

I had recently read that L. niger queens will sometimes found the colony with more than one queen - at least until the first nanitics arrive. I decided to see if this was true, and also if it would allow for a stronger founding colony. 

 

All queens were relocated to the standard test tube setup after coming home. I currently have one set up with the first queen I caught, one with two queens and one with five. 

 

The first queen is doing well, as expected. She's laid a small pile of eggs and is now just waiting. My sight isn't very good, but I reckon the clutch is around 1.5-2 mm in diameter at the current time (7th of August). Nothing out of the ordinary.

 

The two queens are doing surprisingly well. The first few days, one seemed to have settled in, while the other was having difficulties doing so. She seemed to be almost hostile towards the other queen, and I was relatively sure it wouldn't work out. She would climb the other queen, (gently) bite her and just generally show what seemed like aggression. However, the last couple of days, both have settled down. Not only that, but their clutch of eggs has grown much bigger than that of the first queen (closer to 5-5.5 mm in diameter). I am wondering if the first few days were just a display of dominance, perhaps for when it has to be decided who is the strongest.

 

The last test tube, consisting of five queens, is doing alright. They took longer to settle down and they also seem more prone to panicking from disturbances, such as vibrations and light. Their egg clutch is larger than that of the two queens, although not by a lot. Perhaps due to the longer settling time.

 

It should be noted that the two colonies with multiple queens were given test tubes with a diameter of 1.5 cm, while the sole queen was given a test tube with a diameter of 1.1-1.2 cm. 

 

That's all I have for now. I'm looking forward to how this will pan out. I am slightly worried that the five queens might just kill each other, leaving no survivors. Other than that, it seems to be working for now!

 

 

Snapchat-161936992.jpg


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#2 Offline lucas3431 - Posted August 7 2017 - 10:21 AM

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I'll be interested to see the outcome. Five is a lot for one tube, my hopes point towards the two Queens.

 

It will also be interesting to see the reactions from nanitics and workers, most likely the workers will do the killing.



#3 Offline AndersT - Posted August 24 2017 - 10:40 AM

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UPDATE - 24th of August, 2017

 

All queens are currently doing well. The first queen caught now has pupae, so I'm expecting nanitics anytime now.

 

The two queens have a much greater number of eggs and larvae. Development is slow and steady, but they seem to be doing well.

 

The five queens have a ridiculous amount of brood at this point. No pupae yet, but they'll get there. 

 

I still haven't fed, but I think I will soon. Especially the single queen and the two queens seem like they may need it soon.


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#4 Offline AntsMaryland - Posted August 24 2017 - 11:13 AM

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What would happen if with the 5 queens with the giant batch of brood, when they turn into pupae you use a fine pair of tweezers and remove the queens and dispose of them. You have a bunch of workers and a queen and you don't risk the queens killing each other. Would that work? Keep in mind I have no intention of testing this out.



#5 Offline AndersT - Posted August 24 2017 - 1:58 PM

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What would happen if with the 5 queens with the giant batch of brood, when they turn into pupae you use a fine pair of tweezers and remove the queens and dispose of them. You have a bunch of workers and a queen and you don't risk the queens killing each other. Would that work? Keep in mind I have no intention of testing this out.

I doubt that would work. I'd risk squishing eggs, stressing the remaining queen, and so on. Besides, I imagine that the queen left alive will be the strongest and best fit to keep the colony going, which is a plus.

 

But again, it's an experiment. If it doesn't work out, it'll at least serve as a reminder not to do it again, both for me and others. I just want to see where it goes and if it would be viable (at least with two queens). I am also especially looking forward to seeing if it'll create a stronger founding colony. So far that seems to be the case. 



#6 Offline AntsMaryland - Posted August 24 2017 - 2:17 PM

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ok. Good luck!



#7 Offline Bryce - Posted August 24 2017 - 3:58 PM

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In the famous words of Marvin the robot from the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, " This won't end well."
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#8 Offline AntsMaryland - Posted August 24 2017 - 4:11 PM

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I LOVE that book. You are so right! My favorite part is at the end when Marvin kills the police robots from boredom! :)



#9 Offline AndersT - Posted September 29 2017 - 12:06 PM

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29-09-2017 - UPDATE!!

 

So, nanitics have arrived! The single queen had hers hatch the 15th of September. She currently has about four or five workers. They're all doing well.

 

The dual queens had theirs hatch about a week later. There was A LOT! I'm counting about 23 workers. This is a pretty ridiculous step up from the single queen. Weird thing though - the two queens are still doing just fine. No aggression towards each other. I'll come back to that.

 

The quintuple queens had their pupae hatch about a day or two later than the two queens. Also lots of workers, 30-40... Maybe more (it's dark right now so I can't really count them). They've ALSO shown no aggression yet... 

 

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this isn't L. niger - although there's no doubt in my mind it is Lasius sp. 

 

The only polygynous Lasius sp. I know of is L. neglectus - but those should not be in Denmark as far as I know.

 

I'll see if I can get some pictures tomorrow, when there's a bit more light.

 

EDIT: Oh, and as far as I know L. neglectus do not swarm. I did see these guys try to take off, but I saw none in the air. 


Edited by AndersT, September 29 2017 - 12:09 PM.






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