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AntsBC's Manica hunteri Journal (Updated: 6-11-19)

manica hunteri ant queen antsbc egg larva

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#1 Offline AntsBC - Posted July 2 2018 - 6:24 PM

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Hey everyone,

 

I've decided to create a journal on a Manica hunteri queen I caught last year. I know not too many people are keeping Manica spp., and very few (probably in the tens) keep M. hunteri. I'm hoping that my observations can help people if they do end up catching Manica queens, or more specifically Manica hunteri, in the future. Without further ado, lets begin.

 

Last summer, I was walking on my driveway getting ready for hockey when all of a sudden I saw a very brightly coloured ant. Immediately, I dropped to my knees to check it out. This is when I realized it was a queen. We all know the feeling of when you see a queen, and when I saw this one I was overjoyed. I had never seen an ant in my area that looked like this and I was over the roof to find a new species (to my knowledge).

 

I didn't know what species it was and I got it identified on Jash's discord as Manica invidia. Later, upon further research (with the help of LC3) I clarified it was actually Manica hunteri. 

 

I read a little bit on Manica and found out they were usually semi-claustral. Upon learning this, I attached the queens setup to a foraging container. The queen wasn't interested in food at all, and not once did I find the food touched or her foraging. After leaving her with the foraging setup attached for about a month or two, I decided to disconnect the test tube from the foraging container. After about another month of her doing nothing and no eggs being layed, I decided again to try to feed her. I placed a meal worm in the test tube and she rejected that too. Frustrated, I took the untouched meal worm out of the test tube after a few weeks of waiting. A few more months passed by like this with her not doing anything even with check ups once every 3 weeks or so, and finally hibernation came.

 

I hibernated her until the ants outside came out again, and then I switched her out of her old test tube as it had gotten a bit moldy over winter. In her new tube, I offered her some honey. I'm not too sure if she drank it or not, but on one of her later check ups i did find her investigating the honey.

 

About 3-6 weeks into the ant season I checked on her and I was overjoyed at what I saw; she had laid a nice little batch of eggs! I have only been checking on her once every 3 weeks after she laid eggs as I don't want to stress her out or cause her to eat her brood, but her eggs have been developing quite nicely from what I can tell. I'm expecting larva probably in a 1-3 more weeks. She gets pretty stressed whenever I check on her, but despite that I think she will raise the eggs to worker-hood. I will be updating this journal probably once or twice a month so please stay if you want to hear the results. 

 

Here is a crappy video of her before hibernation, i'm sorry about the quality: 

 

(P.S. I will include embedded photos of her with her eggs next time. I didn't want to interrupt her today as it isn't a day I usually check on her)

 

Thanks for reading!

 

-AntsBC 


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 1:05 PM.

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My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

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#2 Offline LearningAntz - Posted July 2 2018 - 7:24 PM

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Lucky! I really want this species and have been looking for this queen. Unfortunately I haven’t found one.

This species waits until after hibernation to lay eggs, which is why it laid eggs after you hibernated her.

Edited by LearningAntz, July 3 2018 - 8:10 AM.


#3 Offline AntsBC - Posted July 3 2018 - 11:48 AM

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Yes, I figured that was the case. I think this species flies in late summer but i can't really remember.


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 12:54 PM.

My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

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#4 Offline Miles - Posted July 3 2018 - 1:20 PM

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Best of luck, AntsBC! I've been keeping this species for a few years now. I find that their interest in food sources changes rapidly (so give lots of variety) and that it's important to give founding queens a piece of bark or some soil. I've also found that feeding them honey-water and fruit flies once they have larvae can significantly improve queen survival rates.


Edited by Miles, July 3 2018 - 1:21 PM.

Hi, I'm Miles! I study ants, environmental science, political science, and science communication at Montana State University in Bozeman. I've been keeping ants for nearly a decade and I'm passionate about conservation and public service.

 

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#5 Offline AntsBC - Posted July 3 2018 - 1:36 PM

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I will keep the bark idea in mind. Since she laid eggs, I haven't offered her any more food, but I think I will next check up. Thanks for the advice! 


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 12:56 PM.

My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

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#6 Offline AntsBC - Posted July 14 2018 - 5:27 PM

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Update #2: July 14, 2018

 

Not too much to report. The brood looks like it has been developing nicely. I think the brood is almost at the larva stage if not there already. I offered her another mealworm slice and she rejected it, so I tried feeding her fruit flies today. I'm hoping she will accept them and finally eat something. 

 

Here's a crappy clip of her and her brood. It wasn't filmed in hot dog way but my stupid phone thought It was:

 

Sorry, I haven't been taking any photos of her as she is constantly moving and my camera can't focus. I'll try to get her to drink some honey or something next time so I can snap some photos.


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 12:57 PM.

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My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

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#7 Offline AntsBC - Posted July 22 2018 - 10:57 AM

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Update #3: July 22, 2018 

 

The queen has finally ate something! She devoured the two fruit flies I offered her, and there isn't a trace of them in the tube!

 

In the meantime, the queen's brood pile just keeps on growing and growing. I'm expecting 5-10 workers in this batch. I didn't know Manica queens laid so many eggs.

 

Also, I think i'm going to offer her some honey this week while I use the rest of my fruit flies to feed my other colonies. Here's some photos of her with her brood:

 

EpFCkCDVdHbK7p2vitn0wh_XoJu3f9Lv62bsEUr0MUX67Zul1kBVDcmnO3neiKZ9wzxeam5t63tewf9uevTGl7qoeEsYrxqS9Qs5HTwvuy-RJtYNb5F89fbDzFyDlICEkTmCXP_m1IqZyoxvOp7yQLgxosareHo4


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 12:58 PM.

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My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

Instagram // YouTube 


#8 Offline Karma - Posted July 22 2018 - 1:14 PM

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Props to you for getting your queen this far, I can never get Manica queens to even lay eggs let alone eat! I'm excited to see how she turns out. How much longer do you think until she has her first workers? For some reason this species and myrmica always seem to take longer to get their first workers then any Camponotus for me.


Edited by Karma, July 22 2018 - 1:15 PM.

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#9 Offline AntsAreUs - Posted July 22 2018 - 1:14 PM

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I look forward to seeing this colony progress. Manica are pretty neat.


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#10 Offline AntsBC - Posted July 22 2018 - 1:37 PM

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Props to you for getting your queen this far, I can never get Manica queens to even lay eggs let alone eat! I'm excited to see how she turns out. How much longer do you think until she has her first workers? For some reason this species and myrmica always seem to take longer to get their first workers then any Camponotus for me.

 

My queen was very picky on eating too. Fruit flies were the first thing she accepted after a year or so of not eating.

 

 Also, she only laid eggs after hibernation, if that helps. Like LearningAntz said: "This species waits until after hibernation to lay eggs, which is why it laid eggs after you hibernated her." I'm not sure if that is a Manica thing or just a Manica hunteri thing.

 

As for her brood development, i'm not too sure how long it will take. I'm guessing like 2 or so more months. Your queens should develop faster than Camponotus spp. though, as Camponotus have way bigger workers. If your Manica and Mrymica are taking longer than your Camponotus, it means they aren't getting enough food/protein (I presume you know they are semi-claustral).


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 1:00 PM.

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My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

Instagram // YouTube 


#11 Offline AntsBC - Posted July 22 2018 - 1:38 PM

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I look forward to seeing this colony progress. Manica are pretty neat.

 

Thanks!


Edited by AntsBC, July 22 2018 - 1:42 PM.

My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

Instagram // YouTube 


#12 Offline Karma - Posted July 23 2018 - 3:45 PM

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Props to you for getting your queen this far, I can never get Manica queens to even lay eggs let alone eat! I'm excited to see how she turns out. How much longer do you think until she has her first workers? For some reason this species and myrmica always seem to take longer to get their first workers then any Camponotus for me.

 

My queen was very picky on eating too. Fruit flies were the first thing she accepted after a year or so of not eating. She also only laid eggs after hibernation if that helps. Like LearningAntz said: "This species waits until after hibernation to lay eggs, which is why it laid eggs after you hibernated her." I'm not sure if that is a Manica thing or just a Manica hunteri thing. As for her brood development, i'm not too sure how long it will take. I'm guessing like 2 or so more months. Your queens should develop faster than Camponotus though as Camponotus has way bigger workers. If your Manica and Mrymica are taking longer than your Camponotus it means they aren't getting enough food (I presume you know they are semi-claustral).

 

Okay that is a common thing for the queens to wait after hibernation good, because they did do that and only one ended up laying eggs and only two accepted food, they laid eggs around the same time as when I found a Camponotus queen that ended up with 12 workers in 2 and a half months. And regardless if queens are semi-claustral or not I normally offer some food at the start because it never hurts.


Edited by Karma, May 3 2019 - 10:18 PM.


#13 Offline AntsBC - Posted July 28 2018 - 4:08 PM

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Update #4: July 28, 2018

 

Most of her eggs have officially hit larva now. I offered her some honey a few days ago, and she started drinking literally 30 seconds after I put the test tube down. So far on the list of foods she has accepted, I have fruit flies and honey.

 

I'm planning on updating this journal around weekly, as her brood progresses. Here's some photos of her with the brood:

 

hK7Wtx5zgSRyQTlQN-HbZ4ULCILj4nlKtZEjxcXTvRxwg2l4ft9ViEyoVQYu2hV8eJduMhMiYAyGX7UG


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 1:01 PM.

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My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

Instagram // YouTube 


#14 Offline Delphie - Posted September 1 2018 - 5:22 PM

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I just caught two of these queens in BC, in what is basically a wide open sand pit. The altitude is 1,214 metres above sea level, which is about 4,000 ft.  The nests were everywhere and they had, apparently, recently flown as all of the nests were wide open. I could find a queen of some kind under nearly every rock or piece of scrap on the ground. I came home with two Manica queens, four Formica queens, three Formica transmontanis and a subsericea, apparently favourite treats for the Manica colonies, and one Lasius. I'm very much looking forward to reading your continuing journal.



#15 Offline MrCobalt - Posted September 2 2018 - 2:31 AM

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Can you up date this again? Does she have workers yet?



#16 Offline AntsBC - Posted September 2 2018 - 6:17 PM

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Can you up date this again? Does she have workers yet?

 

I haven't been updating this as she took a turn for the worst.

 

Basically, once the majority of the brood hit the larva stage she ate all but 2 larva. I'm not sure why she did that as I have been doing my best to supply a variety of food sources, so its not like she needed to eat them, and I'm also not checking up on her that often. Since that happened, she also hasn't been eating or doing basically anything.

 

She still has the 2 larvae, but they haven't developed at all. I'm not completely sure if she will make it to the worker stage, but I wouldn't be surprised if she dies in this upcoming winter. I knew this species is pretty hard to raise so I wasn't really upset about what happened. 

 

I just caught two of these queens in BC, in what is basically a wide open sand pit. The altitude is 1,214 metres above sea level, which is about 4,000 ft.  The nests were everywhere and they had, apparently, recently flown as all of the nests were wide open. I could find a queen of some kind under nearly every rock or piece of scrap on the ground. I came home with two Manica queens, four Formica queens, three Formica transmontanis and a subsericea, apparently favourite treats for the Manica colonies, and one Lasius. I'm very much looking forward to reading your continuing journal.

 

Sounds cool! Best of luck to you with your queens!


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 1:02 PM.

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My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

Instagram // YouTube 


#17 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted October 12 2018 - 6:24 PM

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Update please. Btw they are thought to eat other ants.



#18 Offline AntsBC - Posted May 3 2019 - 12:47 PM

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Update #5: May 3, 2019

 

Well, she survived the winter! She still has her two larva and they seem to be slowly growing. Her diet lately has consisted of fruit flies and spider ligaments. Her test tube's water reservoir is getting quite low, so I decided to feed her a pear today to replenish her liquid supply. We'll see if she eats it.

 

Also, I've been considering feeding her some Formica pacifica workers, as they are apparently known to feed on them in the wild.

 

Hopefully, she will finally raise her two larvae to the worker stage. I've had this queen for almost three years now.  :whistle:

 

Here's some photos:

 

krWkxrRs4HYatN8IsF_lnMDybCo4_QLneqfvf6QpNmMbn1B50D5B4W-xk8v0_RI4Z7nyqHuIairA7Lg2WzJ_cRJ32HJzDFpvNh_KryVz0N2d5Iu6tXlEqCq5pzJSAlRoWRoQJdFAyQbOl_FmtNhhrQSh_P4GVUC8


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 1:03 PM.

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My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

Instagram // YouTube 


#19 Offline NickAnter - Posted June 10 2019 - 5:42 AM

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On the title, did you mean 5-3-19, instead of 3-5-19?


Currently keeping:             

Camponotus hyatti (1, single queen, 1 worker.)                     "Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground." -Theodore Roosevelt

                                                                                              "Either you will control your government, or government will control you." -Ronald Reagan

                                                                                "Leadership is the art is getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it." -                                                                                   Dwight  D. Eisenhower

                        

 

Currently founding:

---Solenopsis molesta(2 tubes  with five in one and two in the other.  )

---Monomorium cf. minimum(1 queen) Pheidole navigans(9 separate queens) Hypoponera sp. (1 queen)  Nylanderia vividula(1)

Hoping to get soon:Camponotus fragilis,Lasius pallitarsis and brevicornis,Formica argentea,Stigmatomma pallipes/oregonense and Pogonomyrmex californicus.


#20 Offline AntsBC - Posted June 11 2019 - 7:29 AM

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On the title, did you mean 5-3-19, instead of 3-5-19?

 

Oh, ya I did, haha.

 

Update #7, June 11, 2019

 

This queen has been doing a lot better. One of her larvae looks like it's about to pupate, and she laid an additional batch of eight eggs. I think she'll definitely get her first workers this summer; I have a bit more time to feed her and such. I also moved her into a new test tube as her old one was getting quite busy.

 

Here's some photos:

 

StdnSjgnuNhvFjdc9F5mJroqZUOrL9LCyQE1pFPVphmUj3rfJN_MFuKp0aQg0Ogx4kdGpmiBLM-j2vGIxb4YG24RyfyqsWUpO-nrHinKBtRgcTl9W2Kf2J2Je4nc0U0Obp-VAJdO5k-0itV-eRolE4GC1QxbvcE8jQRtlV57kfCqL9OEye5JZQ3jfqKtucny9cL3qeGa


Edited by AntsBC, June 11 2019 - 9:06 AM.

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My Active Journals:

 

Formica fossaceps (Parasitic sp.)

Formica ravida (Parasitic sp.)
Formica pacifica 
Lasius americanus 
Manica hunteri

 

Instagram // YouTube 






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