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Ants voluntarily going out to graveyard to die?! Plague prevention?

graveyard death burial

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#1 Offline skocko76 - Posted September 13 2018 - 11:52 PM

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In my colony of Camponotus barbaricus I noticed this behavior on multiple occasions. Not so much in other species I keep.

An ant would appear dead in the graveyard... well.. the place where they dump trash, really.

I usually touch them with a brush, or wet them with a drop of water, just in case they got dehydrated or covered in a sticky substance.

More often than not, the ant springs to life, runs around alert at full speed, seemingly unhurt and full of energy. The next day, it's dead.

Unfortunately, the queen of this colony developed paralysis that took her four hind legs, and finally died. In her last 2-3 days, she kept dragging herself out into the outworld, towards the trash pile. The workers kept carrying her in. She's in the nest currently, still not taken out, 3 days after death.

So, could it be that the ants have evolved pre-death instincts that prevent plague in the community? 

Did you observe a similar behavior in your colonies?


Edited by skocko76, September 13 2018 - 11:53 PM.

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#2 Offline GeorgeK - Posted September 14 2018 - 2:49 AM

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I noticed liometopums walking to "trash pile" and dying there as well.



#3 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted September 14 2018 - 10:39 AM

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I've had this problem with my Camponotus castaneus colony. Workers would simply walk into the outworld looking perfectly fine, and then when I came back an hour later they would be sorta dead, sorta paralyzed. It happened over and over again, and it is the reason the colony only grew from 7 workers to 12 workers over the course of this entire year.


                                         Keeper Of
 
     1 Huge Formica pallidefulva Colony (The Abdo-Lemons)
 
       1 Crematogaster asmeadi Colony That's Full of Personality (The Valentines)
                                                              That likes to escape
       2 Carpenter Ant Colonies (chromaiodes and castaneus)
 
       1 Aphaenogaster lamellidens Colony (The Moss Monsters)

               

       1 Strumigenys colony 

 

       

Still looking to collect a Stigmatomma pallipes colony

 

       


#4 Offline Scrixx - Posted September 14 2018 - 12:33 PM

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I've observed this with my Pogonomyrmex rugosus workers. I kept putting the worker back in the next but it runs back out. Next day it was dead. Yes, it is very possible that they leave the nest to die as a way to prevent spread of disease.


ScrixxAnts Queen Adoption

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Keeping: Camponotus sansabeanus - C. vicinus - Formica francoeuri - Liometopum occidentale -  Pogonomyrmex californicus - P. rugosus - P. subnitidus - Solenopsis molesta - S. xyloni - Tapinoma sessile - Temnothorax sp.

Journals: Camponotus sansabeanus & C. vicinus | Pogonomyrmex californicus & P. rugosus | Solenopsis molesta & S. xyloni

Discontinued: Pogonomyrmex subnitidus


#5 Offline ZllGGY - Posted September 14 2018 - 1:20 PM

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i believe it is an observed behavior with ants and it pretty much is in the wild they will go to a place away from the colony such as a trash pile or actual graveyard and just pass away to prevent a mold or bacterial break out


Colonies:

 

Founding:

Camponotus cf. Modoc

Camponotus cf. Herculeanus

 

Dream Ants:

 

Stenamma Diecki

Solenopsis Molesta

Manica Invidia

Camponotus Herculeanus

Lasius Latipes

Dorymyrmex Pyramicus

Tapinoma Sessile


#6 Offline Major - Posted September 15 2018 - 7:44 AM

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This has occurred with my Camponotus Novaeboracensis. I have also noted cats and dogs show this behavior too.
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#7 Offline skocko76 - Posted September 18 2018 - 4:55 AM

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The dead queen is still inside... Def not sanitary.



#8 Offline skocko76 - Posted September 19 2018 - 2:39 AM

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I have also noted cats and dogs show this behavior too.

 

That's very interesting. I wonder what evolutionary advantage that provided, since cats and dogs don't live in populous communities in tightly packed underground chambers with poor airflow. Could it be a mechanism to prevent cannibalism? Hm.. Probably to reduce contact with a diseased individual that passed.


Edited by skocko76, September 19 2018 - 2:40 AM.


#9 Offline GeorgeK - Posted September 19 2018 - 5:06 AM

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I have also noted cats and dogs show this behavior too.

We had 3 dogs, and when our oldest westie was about to die ( few hours before death really ) he kept going away from others to die alone. Not sure if it has something to do with wanting to die alone ( I highly doubt it ), or just making sure he doesn't "pollute" living area.

They did live in yard, so its not like they were inside house







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