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Skocko76's Camponotus barbaricus journal

journal camponotus barbaricus

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#1 Offline skocko76 - Posted May 17 2018 - 5:03 AM

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This is my journal of a colony of Camponotus barbaricus I got from anthouse.es when I was ordering some stuff (including the formicarium from the photo).

It arrived with only one worker and some larvae. Three nanitics accompanied the queen in the end.

The queen is huge! 

Once, as I was feeding them in their test tube, one of the nanitics ran out and got lost.

I decided to put them in a formicarium, still in their test tube to avoid such accidents in the future.

After hibernation (at room temperature, they were just inactive), the queen lay a batch of eggs that quickly progressed to pupa state.

Seems kind of weird for C. barbaricus as they are notorious for slow development. I read somewhere that workers can speed up pupation of larvae by touching them and rubbing sand on them. Maybe that's what happened.

Just a couple of days ago, they decided to move out of their tube and settle in a long, but thin space enclosed between two acrylic sheets from the sides, substrate from the bottom, and their test tube from the top. They used sand to close the sides of the gap.

 

I was worried that the queen may be too big for the narrow "sandwich" of substrate between the glass, but she is able to turn around just fine.

They seem to be mostly nocturnal, as I have never seen them go down to the green area, yet, in the morning, green sand would be in the tube.

I can't wait for the 9 pupae to enclose, as I suspect they will start to dig themselves in then.

 

IMG 20180517 144938
IMG 20180517 144849

 



#2 Offline skocko76 - Posted May 25 2018 - 1:44 PM

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Three pupae have enclosed so far.
It is amazing how big the enclosed minors are compared to nanitics. The nanitics started digging a hole in the substrate. Huray! Poor guys, two of them working non-stop while the three minors just chill with the rest of the pupae.
IMG 20180525 153039

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#3 Offline skocko76 - Posted June 4 2018 - 2:35 AM

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The pupae are enclosing. There are some 10 workers now.

Here are some videos of workers helping their sister enclose from a pupa:

 

VID 20180528 090806
VID 20180528 091040
VID 20180528 091158

Edited by skocko76, June 4 2018 - 2:47 AM.

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#4 Offline skocko76 - Posted June 23 2018 - 7:17 AM

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They have dug in the substrate. Two vertical tunnels were dug on either side of the main nest, as well as an elevated entrance dome built.

They rarely go into the two vertical tunnels, just patrol them sometimes. It seems to me those serve a role of flood prevention.

They dug the left one when I was watering the left side of the substrate, the right one when I was watering the right.

Of course, they dug where the substrate was moistened and soft, but these vertical digs don't make much sense to me otherwise, as they provide very little benefit to the ants.

The right side vertical tunnel is not visible as it is on the other side of the substrate sandwich. 

A lot of pupae ready to enclose, a few mature larvae and a batch of eggs already turning into larvae. They seem to be growing nicely.

 

IMG 20180623 171025

 



#5 Offline skocko76 - Posted September 4 2018 - 8:04 AM

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I wish I could happily say that the colony now counts around 50 workers, and that I noticed a first major of whooping size.

 

IMG 20180904 174441
 

I say that because today I encountered a disturbing sight. The queen was lying outside, motionless, workers all around her, touching her with their mandibles, as if drinking from her.

When I disturbed the nest, the queen sprung to life, but her lower half was paralyzed. She frantically kicked her forelegs and mandibles, while her workers dragged her inside.

Now that I think back, I think I did notice in the past, that one of her middle legs was paralyzed, then she lost it after awhile. I found her in the outworld once before, but she dragged herself inside.

I did notice she was having difficulty with one side of her body. This process took months.

I must face the fact that she may not survive for long :(

Did you ever experience anything similar? What could be the cause?

 

IMG 20180904 173126
VID 20180904 173152

 



#6 Offline sirjordanncurtis - Posted September 4 2018 - 8:51 AM

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Sounds like she had a stroke?

#7 Offline skocko76 - Posted September 4 2018 - 2:13 PM

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It does sound like that haha.
She did get out once again, and she climbed the verical wall with her two forelegs. The rest is definitely paralyzed.

#8 Offline skocko76 - Posted September 27 2018 - 12:07 PM

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The queen has died...

They have been without her for a week.

A new experiment is on the horizon; a plan to introduce a new queen. Or rather, have the new queen adopt the orphaned workers.

I intend to keep them separate for awhile, for the colony scent to dissipate. I might introduce them during hibernation period.

There is a separate thread about the procedure here: http://www.formicult...ad-queen-curse/

But, how do I introduce a queen with nanitics in a test-tube to a 70-some workers in a formicarium?

Just put the test-tube in the outworld? I guess that's how the adoption would happen in the nature. If possible at all.

I have high hopes!

Here she is, with her future home in the background:

IMG 20180927 212422

 



#9 Offline skocko76 - Posted January 3 2019 - 12:37 PM

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Well, happy 2019! They got a new queen under the Christmas tree!

 

I made a queen-less colony of 50+ merge with a young colony of 12 (C. barbaricus)

It took two attempts. The attempt a month or two earlier failed - the queen-less colony accepted the queen, but the queen would not accept them. She kept killing the placid workers who would enter her tube and silently suffer bad treatment.

I decided to introduce them during hibernation, when they're the least aggressive/mobile. First, I fed the large colony with sugar water. Then I introduced the queen with her workers. This was a tactic on my side to make the large colony "bribe" the queen with sweets.

Even though the large colony had low interest in sugar water, they did regurgitate gifts to the queen. There was no apparent aggression, other than an elevated sense of vigilance.

In the morning it looked like they were mostly ignoring each other. Two days after, the queen had moved to the habitat of the larger colony.

So far so good! :)

 

IMG 20190103 190100
IMG 20190103 190048

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