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Ra3MaN's Myrmicaria Journal (Update: 24-03-15)


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#1 Offline Ra3MaN - Posted March 1 2015 - 10:50 PM

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Hey Everyone, I obtained a Mymicaria queen December 2014, In Pretoria South Africa. I placed the queen in a 50ml tube and left it for about 3weeks, I checked it again early Jan. I waited for the larvae to develop I only took a pic in Feb 2015. Over that period I was just feeding the queen some frozen meal worms, which she took to quite quite nicely.

 

[attachment=197:IMG_5912.jpg]

 

It was however quite a rocky road to where I am today. I discovered that the water source dried out, and I had to design a makeshift system until I could build a better founding chamber and outworld. Once the founding chamber/ out world was completed. The Ants naturally went for the new founding chamber with water.

 

[attachment=201:IMG_5997.jpg]

 

The ants are currently in this founding chamber I have a lot of brood in all stages of development at present. I will attach additional pics to create a timeline of how things are looking at present...

 

IMG 5911 Myrmicaria sp

IMG 5983 Myrmicaria sp
IMG 6100 Myrmicaria sp
IMG 6103 Myrmicaria sp

Edited by Ra3MaN, March 23 2015 - 10:24 PM.

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IMG 5858

 


#2 Offline AntGuySA - Posted March 1 2015 - 11:19 PM

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Hey brother Ra3Man

 

She does look identical to mine, they are so beautiful and I see your`s is way ahead of mine I have been feeding mine flying ants I catch them when they have flights and freeze them until needed, I will be watching this post as I will need to make sure I follow the do`s and don`t`s you may experience, good job and good luck keep us updated. thanks for reading.

 

Regards, AntGuySA


It`s not rocket science 


#3 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted March 2 2015 - 12:29 AM

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Awesome looking ants!

#4 Offline Jonathan21700 - Posted March 2 2015 - 1:59 PM

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Awesome colony! Good luck!



#5 Offline Ra3MaN - Posted March 3 2015 - 11:30 PM

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Update: 4 March 2015 

 

Going to be expecting a big batch of new workers soon.... The pupae are gaining pigmentation I estimate about 6-8 workers to add to the ranks of about 15 workers. 

 

I also bought some meal worms. I find that the larger ones are too much work for them, plus I fear that the meal worms might kill or damage my workers. So I gave them a young larva which is smaller. They managed to restrain it and eat it up completely, after taking it live to the nest (unfortunately I didn't take pics, next time I will). other than that I also feed them wingless flies, and the odd cricket that ventures into my house. They don't seem to like apple but they really take to sugar water.

 

I also noticed that these ants are Diurnal, but in nature, they tend to remain in their nest over the hottest period of the day. Early mornings, they are inactive but as soon as I open curtains they start moving around. 

 

The so far there are not too many foragers but when there is a good food source max, 6 workers will leave the nest at any time.

 

At one point, one of the workers escaped through a ventilation hole, but tracked her movements and found the hole through which she was escaping, and plugged it off with cotton. I have had one great escape before with my old Lepisiota caspensis colony and I don't plan on having another... 


IMG 5858

 


#6 Offline Ra3MaN - Posted March 9 2015 - 10:32 PM

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Relocation!

 

So, Three days ago, I added a a new nest that I build which I show here: http://www.formicult...utworld-design/

 

Yesterday (9-03-2015) the ants moved to the new nest. I am pretty happy about it because now I can take better pictures of the ants.... 

 

emmi 1
the foragers initially surveyed the new nest
 
emmi 2
once the ants were satisfied that it is a good place to move.they brought the brood.
 
emmi 3
I like this pic because you can see the cluch of eggs and a pupa that is already gaining its pigmentation. 
 
Here comes the queen
emmi queen 1
emmi queen 2

 

I think by these pics I can confirm that my ant is Myrmicaria natalensis (http://www.antweb.or...t=allantwebants)

 

Then these are showing them ocupying a single container. I am probably going to close the rest of the chambers Until they increase in number - the beauty of individually opening chambers....  :)
emmi 4
emmi 7
emmi queen 3
emmi 5

 

Some observations:

  • The foragers literally had to fight the brood workers to transport the brood to the new nest. 
  • The foragers were frantically vibrated to get the queen to move
  • the one brood worker, with a larva got lost and then an ant the new the way to the new nest took the larva and transported it to the new nest

IMG 5858

 


#7 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted March 9 2015 - 10:53 PM

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That is awesome! They look a lot like our harvester ants...



#8 Offline Ra3MaN - Posted March 9 2015 - 11:12 PM

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These ones don't farm fungi though. I don''t even think there are ants in South Africa that does.... 


IMG 5858

 


#9 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted March 9 2015 - 11:23 PM

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Harvester ants such as Pogonomyrmex do not farm fungi, instead they are grain collecters.

#10 Offline Jonathan21700 - Posted March 10 2015 - 2:20 PM

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Nice pictures! Awesome setup! :)



#11 Offline Ra3MaN - Posted March 15 2015 - 1:49 PM

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I may need to eat my words:

 

 

 

These ones don't farm fungi though. I don''t even think there are ants in South Africa that does.... 

 

Myrmicaria natalenis update: 16-03-15

 

Population: ~35 workers

 

Hey guys,

 

I think I made an amazing discovery with my Myrmicaria natalensis!

 

150315 1

 

I noticed that there was a white substance on the top of the their nesting chamber, I had given them fish a few hours before, and thought that it was just pieces of masticated fish that the ants were rehydrating. But then I noticed one ant collecting pieces of wood splinters, and placing it nearby the substance. It was then I realized that it could be a fungi farm.

 

Ant Fungi 1

 

I then introduced dry plant matter and fresh plant matter from one my house plant, as well as from a mielie (corn cob) to see which the ants would prefer.

 

Ant Fungi 2

 

They preferred to take the dry plant matter, but I am not sure if it is because the plant I offered was a succulent or not. So I will try out a few others.

 

Ant fungi 3

 

Guess where they took the plant matter….

 

Ant fungi 4

 

They seemed to have problems with the large pieces I gave them so I ground additional pieces up in-between my palms. And they took that and first placed it against the cotton, to moisten it then they attached it to the fungus.

 

Ant fungi 5

 

I am pretty surprised at this find and it just intrigues me more. I am not sure how the ants managed to find the fungus, or how they managed to culture it due to the fact that i have never been providing plant matter.  I guess they must have been using the cotton wool to culture it. - which could explain why they were so attentive to the cotton back in the founding chamber. 

 

I tried to watch the fungus spread onto the new plant matter but it was like watching paint try hehe….

 

Last pic, I show some newly enclosed workers, I really like their gold colour.

 

Ant newly enclosed

Edited by Ra3MaN, March 15 2015 - 1:50 PM.

IMG 5858

 


#12 Offline Jonathan21700 - Posted March 15 2015 - 1:58 PM

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This is really interesting.


Edited by Jonathan21700, March 15 2015 - 2:10 PM.

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#13 Offline antmaniac - Posted March 16 2015 - 2:23 AM

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Nice colony!



#14 Offline DUTCHIBOI - Posted March 17 2015 - 11:47 PM

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Can't wait to see more
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#15 Offline Ra3MaN - Posted March 23 2015 - 10:16 PM

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So, there was a termite nuptial flight last night, and I stumbled across a termite queen (~20mm). So I though based on earlier observations of how Myrmicaria sp. raid termites, I fed her to them live. Unfortunately at the time there wasn't enough support from the workers, so three small workers were trying to do some damage to the queen, but to no avail. That is when it happened-the termite queen sliced one of my workers in two using her enormous concealed mandibles. After that all the other workers started coming out. It was a beautiful sight to see ~50 workers swarming around the queen. I thought that I may suffer more losses but they managed to kill the termite queen so no more deaths. 

 

This was the first death in my colony. I am sort of happy because I don't want my ants to increase too rapidly, however there is lots of brood on the way. I estimate ~50 workers ~15-30pupae, ~20-40 larvae and a clutch of eggs. There seems to be a new worker enclosing almost everyday. 

 

They finish ~2ml of sugar water in about a week and they currently are accepting meal worms and mature beetles - after I crush the head (the insects are still able to react to stimuli after their heads are crushed.) other then that they also take flies, chicken, fish, meal worm pupae crickets and maggots.

 

Their fungus garden hasn't really grown that much, I am a bit concerned, I think I need to use softer materials than dry, crushed leaves

 

But that is about all that has happened. 


IMG 5858

 


#16 Offline Ants4fun - Posted March 24 2015 - 4:17 AM

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I do not think that is fungus. I think they are putting dried substrate on there food as they do in the wild. 



#17 Offline Ra3MaN - Posted March 24 2015 - 4:30 AM

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Maybe you're right, after thinking about it, I guess it could be adhesive putty which is that colour, and they are using to plug the gaps...? There is an abundance of exposed pieces that the ants could have access to. 


IMG 5858

 


#18 Offline Ants4fun - Posted March 24 2015 - 5:44 AM

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Ohhh so that is what it is, putty. If you didn't see any fungus in the test tube colony, then it definitely did not just spring up out of nowhere. Also fungus farmers feed almost exclusively on there fungus, not eating prey items. 


Edited by Ants4fun, March 24 2015 - 5:44 AM.

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