Neoponera villosa journal
[Better photos will hopefully be incorporated at a later date]
I caught this queen a little bit back, and haven't found any recorded care/guides for 'The Greater Texas Bullet Ant' here yet. Hope that this journal helps/can help anyone with general questions on any aspect of this species. She is 17.5mm long, seems to pack an exceptionally strong sting that kills insects almost instantly, and wears a coat made of GOLD.. Maybe not that last one, but it definitely appears that way in the right light.
Queen found on an industrial mower parked on private property as I was driving it elsewhere (presumably climbed on while foraging). I then caught her, and put her into the standard test-tube setup.
I could not console the queen from the time of capture to now, and speculated that it had specific nesting needs. I moved her into a dirt setup, with little expectation for it's success, and waited for her to get comfortable and decide what she was going to do.
P.S. The queen is being fed a large termite every other day.
The queen has noticeably rejected the all-dirt setup up to now, so I moved her into a container with a thin layer of sand and two hollowed & cut branch pieces. The reason why I first tried a dirt setup is because I wanted to ensure that the aquarium silicone, used on one of the branch pieces, was entirely cured. Below is a picture of the two 'nests' I was making between 7-15-17 & 7-18-17.
P.s. Keep in mind I had limited pockets of time, so this was not a detailed creation.
The queen goes in and out of both wood nests, but never stays in either for any extended period of time.. I created a topic asking for some help in regards to founding this queen, and received some excellent bits of information and advice (a majority was in private messages). I took the advice of gcsnelling, someone who has my respect as quite the active & accurate contributor to this forum, and put her back into a test tube.
She laid her first egg in captivity. It was so large that I had trouble accepting that it was indeed laid by her... Barely over 2mm long.
Two more eggs laid at this point. I have no clue how she generates them, even with the extreme amount of food she eats. Four of them would easily make up the mass of her gaster.. She doesn't even seem to have deflated.
She has 8 eggs total at this point, and is being fed one large termite (or two small ones) a day.
A larvae appeared today! I've been watching it being fed, and it is a voracious eater. I am curious to see how fast it develops. As a side note, the larvae is 'spiky'.
I am no longer caring for the queen since I had to leave Texas for a short while. She is being cared for based on written instruction, and I check in every so often to tweak the care routine. There were 3 larvae before I left, and I found that they grow noticeably as long as they are given plenty to eat.. I was feeding them multiple times daily up until I left, and all larvae grew drastically.
I now feel I have the time to post this as a proper journal, and upkeep it.. I was waiting until I had gotten a proper camera for the current caretaker, but I haven't reasonably been able to do so. All of the paragraphs here were written on the day specified, but it is only just being posted now.. As an update, there are two pupae (one spun it's cocoon on the 4th, the other on the 8th), two large larvae + two very small ones, and 5 eggs (two of which were laid today).
I forgot to state:
As an arboreal species, I was advised that they liked very low humidity. Container humidity, that the test tube is in, is a constant 29-35%, and the queen has always chosen to place eggs and larvae right next to the cotton with water. Though I have no clue if that is because it is farthest from the entrance, or if she prefers more humidity (likely because of the distance)..
Edited by Shaye, September 12 2017 - 1:31 AM.