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Neivamyrmex nigrescens


84 replies to this topic

#1 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted August 2 2018 - 1:09 AM

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Collected 7/26/2018  

Location:  Walland TN, Border of Smoky Mt. National Park

Colony under log on top of broken pile of kudzu stems.

 

Current Housing:  Small plastic reptile container with layer of soil, detritus and 3 pieces of lengthwise folded pieces of cardboard  forming 'roofs'.  It has been observed that they are very averse to light.  Colony is kept in complete darkness but given  light exposure daily to maintain a diurnal cycle, but the ants emerge after sunset, even in closeted situation, thus it may be they have a natural clock and know when to become active at dusk irrespective of having been kept in a darkened enclosure.  Temperature setting at 78F.

 

Food:  Have experimented with different insects, they are picky, to be expected as they are specialists for the literature available notes a preference to ant larvae/pupae but the literature does cite their having been observed feeding on non-myrmicine insects. Details of their behavior and biology though is scanty.  They readily take commercially grown crickets and small mealworms. They have ignored wild caught crickets, grasshoppers, flies etc. They will only accept crickets and mealworms that have been dismembered, obviously for the meal worm due to its tough exoskeleton. Literature has noted that one of the reasons speculated as to why they  are specialists on other ant immatures is due to their high fat content let alone being a protein source.  I speculate that one reason they may be accepting of commercially raised crickets as opposed to caught ones is due to difference in diet of the  commercially raised ones versus the wild ones and that may be contributing to a 'fatter' content meal, or it could be as simple as they taste different and that is attractive, the upshot is though they do feed on non-myrmicine insects,  but is that sustainable for colony health and more importantly as a food source that is nutritionally sufficient for  proper larval development?  That is also an unknown. 

 

Colony was collected with large number of pupae and currently these have not eclosed.  The queen was collected and observed having a highly distended abdomen and mostly immobile due to that extension. Her status is unknown due to the subterranean and reclusive nature they exhibit.  

 

Is this a species that is easily kept, I think not.  Is it a 'waste of time',  that is a subjective statement. As is obvious to any reader of this there are trial and errors in this endeavor of keeping ants, carpenter ants have sets of needs and requirements that are different from leaf cutters, for many a carpenter ant keeper perhaps the leaf cutters are 'too difficult' or a 'waste of time', again a subjective statement.  There are many a reader who has had failure with even species considered generally easy to maintain, there is no difference in this attempt.  One sciences the hell out of it and works to maintain the ants health with vigilance and consistent observation and as needed, adjustments.  And if necessary, release them ultimately. 

 

Any helpful comments and advice are solicited.

 

Photos and video to be uploaded.  


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#2 Offline Leo - Posted August 2 2018 - 3:29 AM

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Cool,I have kept leptogenys and aenictus before, I look forward to reading the progress of this colony!

#3 Offline Nare - Posted August 2 2018 - 4:26 AM

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I'm excited to see where this goes, I know very little about Neivamyrmex. Would they perhaps do well in a large terrarium, or at least a large setup, seeing as they're nomadic (I think)?


I keep termites - check them out! I've also made a guide...


#4 Offline rbarreto - Posted August 2 2018 - 4:59 AM

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I don't think removing a slowly reproducing keystone species (that has already been proven to be near impossible to keep) from nature is a good idea.


My journal featuring:

Aphaenogaster picea

Lasius claviger

Lasius umbratus

Lasius sp. (black workers)

Lasius sp. (yellow/orange workers)

Formica pallidefulva (northern color form)

Prenolepis imparis

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Camponotus novaeboracensis

Temnothorax cf. curvispinosus

Tetramorium immigrans ( 2 polygynous, 1 monogynous)

 


#5 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted August 2 2018 - 5:02 AM

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Unlike other ant species which produce hundreds or thousands of alates each year, Neivamyrmex will produce maybe one or two fertile queens every two years. That is why Gordon Snelling, our regional Dorylinae expert, dissuades hobbyists from recklessly collecting these ants only for them to die in captivity for no real purpose.


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If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#6 Offline Canadian anter - Posted August 2 2018 - 5:04 AM

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Well, these ants need to eat ant brood and raid colonies on a near-daily basis.  They aren't a neessary waste of time, it's just that the average antkeeper, or even institution hass no power to keep them. THey also need to switch nests frequently


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#7 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted August 2 2018 - 1:56 PM

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Batspiderfish, that is a very relevant point. Recklessness is not the intent, rather the same fascination with ants that I assume you and others in this forum entertain.  From my knowledge this species has the widest geographic distribution of any of the Neivamyrmex spp according to WikiAnt, if one takes that website authoritatively.  I am unaware of any federal or state protections on this species either that would warrant non-collection, hence it is fundamentally on that level no different than collecting Camponotus pennsylvanicus   or any other of our widely distributed yet 'common' [WikiAnt] species, yet again it is different in that as you have noted it does not produce annually numerous alates.  Once it was considered collecting Cypripedium acaule as reckless and unwarranted based on the understanding that non-seedling plants were in a symbiotic relationship with the mychorrhiza fungus as seedlings are associated with which resulted in the death of the collected plants, yet now it is understood that non-seedlings can be transplanted [if not legally restricted and recklessly done] without committing a death sentence to the plants if their needs are met culturally, the upshot of this with respect to your well received thread point is similar, to me at least,  to this species of ant, which has challenges indeed but then again one may collect C. pennsylvanicus and be irresponsible either with dealates collected after mating or established colonies, and I am sure there are many in this forum who have collected and 'killed' species other than Neivamyrmex spp, as to whether individuals who have experienced that feel ethically or morally disturbed by that I cannot say, I know of myself that I certainly take seriously collecting and maintaining, and once any species is removed from its natural environment and 'kept' the keeper is fully responsible, even if it is a simple pavement ant.  I do not wish to speak as if I am standing on a soapbox, just expressing how I see this species and any species of ant being housed and maintained outside its native environment.  I fully appreciate yours and others who have voiced concerns, but I am not aware of any threat to this species specifically that would warrant me to give up on the serious attempt to appreciate them as any other ant keeper in this forum is doing with the long lists of various genera and species of the numerous Dorylinae, Formicinae, Myrmicinae  and other subfamilies described by members currently being kept.  May we all work to maintain ethical and responsible husbandry of our ants. 


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#8 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted August 2 2018 - 2:11 PM

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I would also add I am new this forum but not new to keeping ants, something I have done for a long time, also having a degree in entomology, and having worked in insect rearing professionally, though not in and of itself says anything about housing ants, but at least would be indicative of a seriousness of my passion for insects and eusocial ones in particular.  So I may be listed as 'newbie' and not 'junior' or 'advanced' but in the end those titles, as is often the case with titles, may not necessarily indicate a persons knowledge, capacities and abilities in any field, even that of keeping ants as it is for probably most forum members:  simply a serious passion and interest in them, not something as a lifetime endeavor that leads to an academic outworking of that interest most of us have had since we were kids,  as  for example the aforementioned Dr. Snelling.   Again, excuse the long windedness. 


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#9 Offline EnderzATwar411 - Posted August 2 2018 - 5:02 PM

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While I wish to stay neutral on this topic, I would like to see photos and videos of this particular colony. I hope you do manage to not kill them (though it seems unlikely).


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Colonies

 

Camponotus vicinus queens w/ pupae (newer ones have eggs/larvae only)

 

19 Formica francoeuri queens (with eggs only)

 

Very small mealworm "colony" (no beetles yet only pupae)


#10 Offline ponerinecat - Posted August 3 2018 - 9:57 AM

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How large is the colony? The population will directly affect their chance of surviving in captivity, which is already low.


Edited by ponerinecat, August 3 2018 - 9:58 AM.


#11 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted August 3 2018 - 12:58 PM

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Ponerinecat:  That is a good question, which quantitatively is hard to give an exact number.  I have been thinking of how to make an educated estimate of the population size.  Allow me to get onto that and I will post.  



#12 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted August 4 2018 - 2:33 AM

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Update:  I found a fire ant nest and collected a large quantity, approximately 3 tbsp of larvae and pupae and offered them to the ants, they readily accepted them and carried them off to their nest.  All 3 tbsp were taken.  They have also been consistently feeding on dismembered crickets and meal worms.  



#13 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted August 4 2018 - 2:36 AM

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The colony has separated their pupae into two large piles while they have kept the fire ant pupae offered as food currently separated between the two piles of their own pupae.  This behavior will be followed up on with further observations.



#14 Offline EnderzATwar411 - Posted August 4 2018 - 8:48 AM

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I assume you mean Solenopsis invicta and not something like S. xyloni. Quite interesting that they accept any type of ant brood.


Colonies

 

Camponotus vicinus queens w/ pupae (newer ones have eggs/larvae only)

 

19 Formica francoeuri queens (with eggs only)

 

Very small mealworm "colony" (no beetles yet only pupae)


#15 Offline ponerinecat - Posted August 4 2018 - 9:44 AM

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If your area has these, use argentine ant brood. If not, keep on using S. invicta.


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#16 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted August 4 2018 - 10:53 AM

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Here is a short video of the ants after being given the brood of fire ants S. invicta.  [I am still learning how to upload a video here so excuse using the link]

 



#17 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted August 4 2018 - 11:01 AM

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There are a few pieces of the crickets they also accept, these will be removed.  I remove any left over meals in the evenings after work before they are fed again as I fear fungus/bacteria are seriously issues that will be needed to be dealt with as best as can be.  Unfortunately any waste food products that are within the colony area itself cannot be reached. Another culture issue that will need to be worked out. 



#18 Offline AntsAreUs - Posted August 4 2018 - 12:37 PM

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I am wondering if they will start to which nesting areas if you can allow them to move into a whole new setup. Once they are in the new setup could you thoroughly clean out the used container to make it more plausible for them to move back into? Could you also just use 5 different setups for them to cycle around? I look forward to any future problems that may occur and how you manage to deal with them.


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Currently keeping:

Ants:    Stigmatomma pallipes

            Temnothorax schaumii - Journal

            Temnothorax curvispinosus

            Myrmecina americana - Journal

            Ponera pennsylvanica - Journal

            Formica incerta Journal

            Formica subsericea

            Formica rubicunda

            Aphaenogaster tennesseensis - Journal

            Aphaenogaster rudis Journal

            Myrmica spp. Journal

            Camponotus chromaiodes - Journal

            Camponotus pennsylvanicus

            Camponotus subbarbatus - Journal

            Camponotus sp.

            Strumigenys pergandei - Journal (Discontinued)

            Strumigenys pilinasis - Journal

            Hypoponera opacior

            Tetramorium immigrans - Journal

            Tapinoma sessile - Journal

            Lasius americanus

            Lasius neoniger

            Lasius murphyi

            Solenopsis molesta

            Pheidole pilifera

 

Other:  Millipedes

Isopods

Springtails

Soil Centipedes (Geophilomorpha sp.)

Stone Centipedes (Lithobius sp.)

Mealworms/Superworms

Indian Mealmoth Culture

Dipluras

Some types of mites


#19 Offline PurdueEntomology - Posted August 5 2018 - 2:59 AM

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Update:  Eggs have been laid.

Neivamyrmex nigrescens eggs

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#20 Offline AntsAreUs - Posted August 5 2018 - 11:47 AM

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That is an incredible amount of brood so fast!


Currently keeping:

Ants:    Stigmatomma pallipes

            Temnothorax schaumii - Journal

            Temnothorax curvispinosus

            Myrmecina americana - Journal

            Ponera pennsylvanica - Journal

            Formica incerta Journal

            Formica subsericea

            Formica rubicunda

            Aphaenogaster tennesseensis - Journal

            Aphaenogaster rudis Journal

            Myrmica spp. Journal

            Camponotus chromaiodes - Journal

            Camponotus pennsylvanicus

            Camponotus subbarbatus - Journal

            Camponotus sp.

            Strumigenys pergandei - Journal (Discontinued)

            Strumigenys pilinasis - Journal

            Hypoponera opacior

            Tetramorium immigrans - Journal

            Tapinoma sessile - Journal

            Lasius americanus

            Lasius neoniger

            Lasius murphyi

            Solenopsis molesta

            Pheidole pilifera

 

Other:  Millipedes

Isopods

Springtails

Soil Centipedes (Geophilomorpha sp.)

Stone Centipedes (Lithobius sp.)

Mealworms/Superworms

Indian Mealmoth Culture

Dipluras

Some types of mites





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