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Temnothorax sp. queens died, eggs have reappeared

temnothorax

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#1 Offline Maculata - Posted April 7 2019 - 5:05 PM

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Temnothorax sp. 
 
This colony had 2 queens.  About 6 weeks ago, both queens died with in 1 week of each other - I ID'ed them as queens.  I did not rest them for the winter and had been pushing the temp into the high 80s during the day with 5 degree temp drop at night (Tucson is desert with many many 100+ degree days in the summer).  The colony doubled in size and had a good mix of all phases of development.  All workers appeared stuffed for food, clean water always available.  Feed cricket frozen/thawed cricket parts, honey and grains.  
Over the next 4 weeks, all eggs, larva, pupa continued to grow until there was only a couple dozen large developing pupa.
 
Then:  Eggs started to reappear.  In addition some of the eggs are now progressing to grow as larva.  
 
What happened? 
 
There are now close to 300 workers busy taking care of everything.  I can not see anything that looks like a queen (no wing scars, none that look abnormally big, ...). 
 
Original queen laying an egg.
A60A9907 S NSI

 

--

Other info:

 

Thread Summary: Temnothorax sp.

 

1. Location (on a map) of collection: Central Tucson, AZ

2. Date of collection: Summer 2018
3. Habitat of collection: Sonoran Desert, 2000ft, urban mesquite trees and cactus
4. Length (from head to gaster): Queen 4mm, workers 2.5mm
5. Color, hue, pattern and texture: 
6. Distinguishing characteristics: 
7. Distinguishing behavior: calm, polygynous / polygyne (2 queen colony)

8. Nest description: Unknown

9. Nuptial flight time and date: Summer 2018

 

A60A8620 Nsi
Album: Temnothorax sp.
32 images
0 comments

 


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#2 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted April 7 2019 - 7:14 PM

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The workers may be laying trophic eggs. The larvae will probably develop into males, but if your lucky you may have somehow gotten a gamergate.

Keep an eye our for the pupae and see if they are female. If so, congrats! Also, post an update here and let us know. I don't think this genus is known to have gamergates so this would be a relatively new discovery.
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#3 Offline Maculata - Posted April 15 2019 - 7:55 PM

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After 2+ months of watching all the old queens eggs had grow to large larvae with no sign of eggs, new eggs started to appear.  Many of those eggs are developing.  Below are several picts in case I missed something.  No new larvae have pupated yet.  Maybe in a month. 

 

A60A0106 S NSI
A60A0104 S NSI
A60A0101 S NSI
A60A0098 S NSI
A60A0097 S NSI
A60A0094 S NSI
A60A0089 S NSI

  


Edited by Maculata, April 15 2019 - 7:58 PM.


#4 Offline Maculata - Posted April 15 2019 - 8:23 PM

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For reference here are 4 more picts of the original queens (now believed dead)

 

A60A9357 S NSI
A60A9637 S NSI
A60A9613 S NSI
A60A9668 S NSI

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#5 Offline Serafine - Posted April 16 2019 - 2:42 AM

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Temnothorax workers can lay (haploid) eggs. In the wild around 20-40% of all males a colony produces are offspring of workers.

 

You can btw try an adoption, if the colony has been without a queen for several months chances are high that they will accept a new queen.


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#6 Offline sirjordanncurtis - Posted April 16 2019 - 6:29 AM

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One thing you can watch out for is the number of developing larvae in comparison to the number of eggs that are laid. Unlike fertilized queens, who's eggs have around 100% viability to produce eggs that will end up growing into either a worker or an alate. The eggs laid by workers should have only 10% change to develop into larvae.


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#7 Offline Maculata - Posted April 19 2019 - 5:33 PM

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Will the males have wings?



#8 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted April 19 2019 - 7:30 PM

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Yes.



#9 Offline CatsnAnts - Posted June 28 2019 - 8:26 AM

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Update?

Spoiler

#10 Offline Maculata - Posted August 13 2019 - 7:50 PM

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As sirjordanncurtis suggested, lots of eggs appear and disappear - A few go on to be adults.  No wings.  The colony just hangs on.  I am looking for another queen to introduce.  I will update if I find one.  

#11 Offline ponerinecat - Posted August 13 2019 - 8:58 PM

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So they became workers? You should reference a myrmecologist. See what they think.



#12 Offline Maculata - Posted August 14 2019 - 10:20 PM

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On closer examination, there are now several larger workers with longer and pointed abdomens.  Are these males?

 

A60A8620 Nsi
Album: Temnothorax sp.
32 images
0 comments

A60A0602 S NSI
A60A0600 S NSI
 
compare size to when there were queens
 
A60A0106 S NSI
A60A9296 S NSI
 
And here were the queens
 
A60A9357 S NSI
A60A9613 S NSI

 


Edited by Maculata, August 14 2019 - 10:22 PM.


#13 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted August 15 2019 - 5:37 AM

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Just larger workers. I don't know how it's possible that the workers produced more workers... Unless there is an ergatoid queen somewhere in the nest. Could also be ergatoid males instead of workers.
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#14 Offline NickAnter - Posted August 15 2019 - 6:38 AM

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Those could be gamergates. It would make sense that the colony produced an ergatoid male, which fertilzed a worker. Or could be what Ant-dude said.
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Species being kept:

 

Solenopsis truncorum, Solenopsis "plebeius", Solenopsis validiuscula, Solenopsis sp., Solenopsis xyloni, Solenopsis amblychila, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Pheidole navigans, Nylanderia vividula, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Temnothorax rudis, Temnothorax cf. nitens, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Strumigenys membranifera

 

People are stupid. It explains a lot...


#15 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted August 15 2019 - 6:44 AM

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Those could be gamergates. It would make sense that the colony produced an ergatoid male, which fertilzed a worker. Or could be what Ant-dude said.


Yeah, that could very well be what has happened here. There was more than one queen, so not all of the workers are related. A worker from one queen could have laid eggs that hatched into ergatoid males, those males fertilized a worker, and now you have a gamergate in your nest producing workers.

This may be very important information if it's true.
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#16 Offline Maculata - Posted August 15 2019 - 7:56 PM

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What experiment or observation would be recommended?  

I took some picts of the colony to see if you see something I missed:

I think the two queens died about March 1st 2019

 

A60A0609 S NSI
A60A0610 S NSI
A60A0611 S NSI
A60A0612 S NSI
A60A0613 S NSI
A60A0614 S NSI
A60A0615 S NSI

Edited by Maculata, August 15 2019 - 8:03 PM.


#17 Offline ponerinecat - Posted August 16 2019 - 2:05 PM

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Keep raising them and look for new worker pupae. If they appear then this would be something pretty new.



#18 Offline CatsnAnts - Posted June 9 2020 - 10:15 AM

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I would like to bring back this topic with a colony of mine in a similar position. Recently, my mother happened to come across a decaying hickory nut with a colony of Temnothorax curvispinosus inside. She gave it to me, and upon further examination, this colony was lacking a queen - and not for a short time either. The colony consists equally of about males and workers right now, with lots of brood developing solely into males from what it seems. There has been lots of new eggs being laid recently, and I’m almost curious to see if it’s possible that a gamergate could be produced from this. As you can see, LOTS of worker brood:







EDIT: Also, I would love an update on the existing colony in this journal!

Edited by CatsnAnts, June 9 2020 - 10:17 AM.

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#19 Offline AntsDakota - Posted June 9 2020 - 2:40 PM

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Many of the workers’ gasters also look quite large.

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#20 Offline CatsnAnts - Posted June 9 2020 - 3:07 PM

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Many of the workers’ gasters also look quite large.

I noticed this as well. Could just be normal, although I haven’t fed them yet since their capture.

Edit: I’m also wondering if some of that pupae is worker pupae? If so, I would assume it would have been from a worker considering that only males have recently hatched meaning that no queen could have been present within this colony for quite some time?

Double edit: If I’m not seeing things, then I’m going to say that the bottom picture has some worker pupae clearly visible in it. I say this because of the size of the eyes and body structure appear to match that of a worker.

Edited by CatsnAnts, June 9 2020 - 3:12 PM.

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