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Nare's Ant Journal

pogonomyrmex occidentalis formica wheeleri camponotus pennsylvanicus journal ants

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#1 Offline Nare - Posted August 3 2019 - 6:27 PM

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Update 1 (03/08/19)

 

I know what you're thinking - "wow, Nare actually keeps ants?! Crazy!!". Well I was super excited about this queen, and I've been told if I made a journal for this species, it'd be the first Canadian Pogonomyrmex journal, so here we are...

 

So I bought a Pogonomyrmex occidentalis queen from CanadianAnter's store, and she arrived safe and sound on the 1st of August. As soon as I got her tube on a stable surface (it's an AC test tube too, very nice), she started excavating, and later that same day, she'd laid 3 eggs. Now, 3 days later, she's moved most of the dirt away from the water reservoir, and laid something like 12 eggs, which I'm assured is a healthy amount. Here are some pics I snapped of her on the night she arrived.

U1D6uxy.jpg

AsZfVIC.jpg

CULTsHT.jpg

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As you can see, she came shipped in a standard test tube setup with lots of sand, as well as an assortment of seeds to feed on during the founding process. I've been told that the sand is necessary, or at least beneficial, for founding for this species, in addition to heat. So I've got her on my heat cable, and she should be nice and toasty. Workers should arrive in about a month, so I'll update this journal then...


Edited by Nare, March 19 2020 - 5:20 PM.

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#2 Offline sweetgrass - Posted August 3 2019 - 6:31 PM

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Glad she’s doing so well. I was the one who collected her and set up the tubes.
I have 4 queens in 2 tubes. Eggs as well. They dig non stop. I covered my 2 tubes. They calmed down. Eggs they’ve laid seem to move or get buried. Learning as we go.

Edited by sweetgrass, August 3 2019 - 6:33 PM.

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#3 Offline Nare - Posted August 3 2019 - 6:37 PM

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Glad she’s doing so well. I was the one who collected her.
I have 4 queens in 2 tubes. Eggs as well. They dig non stop. I covered my 2 tubes. They calmed down. Eggs they’ve laid seem to move or get buried. Learning as we go.

I'm very grateful for the work you put into collecting these queens - I've heard it's been quite a process! These things still feel too exotic to be in Canada, so I'm super glad you managed to find them and share them with the rest of the country. My yearning for neat ants has definitely been satisfied thanks to this species.

'


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#4 Offline sweetgrass - Posted August 3 2019 - 6:54 PM

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I got some test tube feeders yesterday and put some honey and nyger seeds and walnuts in it. They drank the honey for half an hour. This morning the feeders are buried even after removing some of the sand. Not sure what to do??? Remove and refill every couple of days??

#5 Offline sweetgrass - Posted August 3 2019 - 6:59 PM

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https://imgur.com/gallery/AzNk8Za
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#6 Offline spartANTS - Posted August 4 2019 - 5:45 AM

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by reading those post i think i know why mine died.
i should have kept her in the original test tube.

#7 Offline Canadian anter - Posted August 4 2019 - 6:10 AM

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by reading those post i think i know why mine died.
i should have kept her in the original test tube.

I don't think that the original tube would have necessarily saved her, and it is certainly possible to keep them in a different setup, but I assure that the tubes are made to be as comfortable for the ants as possible
Visit us at www.canada-ant-colony.com !

#8 Offline Nare - Posted August 4 2019 - 9:27 AM

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I got some test tube feeders yesterday and put some honey and nyger seeds and walnuts in it. They drank the honey for half an hour. This morning the feeders are buried even after removing some of the sand. Not sure what to do??? Remove and refill every couple of days??

As far as I know, these queens should be able to found on seeds alone, or even without any food at all. The only thing about constantly refilling the food would be that you'd be opening the tube a lot, and that might disturb them. What I might do is put the test tube in a container of some sort that would act as an outworld, and put food outside, and let the queens forage for food when they need it. I'm assuming they do this in the wild, but I'm not certain - I'd have to do some research.



#9 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted August 18 2019 - 5:33 AM

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I just ordered a small colony off of THA. I'll be looking at this journal a lot.


Camponotus novaeboracensis > 1 queen with eggs.

 

Ponera pennsylvanica > 1 queen.

 

Formica glacialis or subaenescens > 9 workers


#10 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted August 18 2019 - 7:25 AM

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Got any tips for this species, Nare?
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#11 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted August 18 2019 - 8:04 AM

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My Pogonomyrmex subdentatus, which are closely related to these, love crushed freeze dried insects.

heir favorite seed is hands down Kentucky bluegrass, I would reccomend them to anyone keeping Pogonomyrmex. Poppy seeds are also taken, albeit with less excitement. If the workers are large enough the also take black nyger seeds.

They also LOVE heat, keeping their brood at the areas of the nest that reach 90-95F. While Pogonomyrmex occidentalis might not like temperatures that high, I would not be surprised if they enjoy temps in the high 80's. At a constant high eighties to low 90's, the egg to worker time should be 4-6 weeks.

Edited by YsTheAnt, August 18 2019 - 8:04 AM.


#12 Offline Nare - Posted September 7 2019 - 7:12 PM

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Update 2 (07/09/19)

Here it is! The long-awaited second update!

 

It has been quite a long road for this queen - she was off to a good start with 20+ eggs only a few days after I received her, but a week or so later, she was down to a single larva.

6hO3aD5.jpg

 

I tried everything to get her to lay - I'd been heating her from day 1, offering food in the test tube, and anything else you could think of. Here was her old setup:

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Notice the great big air bubble in the test tube reservoir... after some troubleshooting, Mordam from Tar Heel Ants determined that the tube likely wasn't humid enough for her brood to properly develop, due to the massive air bubble touching the cotton plug. With that in mind, I made a new test tube setup, pictured below.

Fv19Kwp.jpg

 

I then added some calcium carbonate sand, much finer than the stuff she came with, and let the queen move her single larva into the new tube. Here's a pic (or two) after she'd first moved in.

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I then connected this test tube up to the outworld from earlier, and added mealworms / seeds / honey on a q-tip, and let her be, sitting on the heating cable. Obviously she got right to work, digging away. After a week or two, this is what her tube looked like:

x49BYC4.jpg

 

She'd dragged some seeds in at first, but eventually decided that it'd be a better use of her time and energy to transfer all the wet sand from the floor of the test tube to the cieling. Anyways, eventually, I checked the tube from the underside, to see what was going on, and this is what I saw:

ZvF6Qmd.jpg

 

As you can see, her larva was still there, but she'd laid another batch of eggs! And a week or so later...

TyFBjLD.jpg

 

That larva had turned into a pupa, which had turned orange... and when I checked back today, I saw this:

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One cute little nanitic! For a queen that I wasn't sure was going to make it through founding, I'm overjoyed that she's made it this far. From this point on, things should be easier - the worker should take over foraging duties at some point, allowing the queen to focus on her brood. I'll leave the queen and nanitic in their tube for now - don't want to disturb them and mess things up. I'm expecting at least 1 more batch of workers (10 or 15 judging by the amount of eggs / small larvae I see right now) before hibernation, but if I'm lucky I might get 2 batches. I'll update this journal again before I put them away for the winter.


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#13 Offline Nare - Posted September 8 2019 - 7:15 AM

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Got any tips for this species, Nare?

Sorry I missed this! Heat, humidity, and food - those are key from what I've seen. Probably best to offer an outworld straight away, as my queen has foraged almost as soon as I offered one to her. It's also less of a disturbance to add food to an outworld than to put it right in the tube.


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#14 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted September 8 2019 - 8:07 AM

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Got any tips for this species, Nare?

Sorry I missed this! Heat, humidity, and food - those are key from what I've seen. Probably best to offer an outworld straight away, as my queen has foraged almost as soon as I offered one to her. It's also less of a disturbance to add food to an outworld than to put it right in the tube.

Ok. Currently I am offering food in her tube. I will add an outworld for her ASAP.

#15 Offline Antennal_Scrobe - Posted November 8 2019 - 1:59 PM

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How are they doing?


Currently keeping:

 

Tetramorium immigrans, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis

Brachymyrmex depilis, Myrmica punctiventris

Formica pallidefulva, Temnothorax ambiguus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus, Camponotus nearcticus

Lasius brevicornis

Crematogaster cerasi

Temnothorax curvispinosus

Prenolepis imparis


#16 Offline Da_NewAntOnTheBlock - Posted November 8 2019 - 2:03 PM

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Yeah, also considering adding some sandy areas for my Camponotous colony

There is a important time for everything, important place for everyone, an important person for everybody, and an important ant for each and every ant keeper and myrmecologist alike


#17 Offline Nare - Posted November 17 2019 - 12:05 PM

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How are they doing?

Really well actually - I figure I'd better put together an update before I put them in hibernation.


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#18 Offline Nare - Posted November 23 2019 - 5:56 PM

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Update 3 (23/11/19)

 

So it's been a hot minute since I've updated this, cause things have gotten kinda busy. But my Pogonomyrmex have been chugging away, growing at a pace unlike any other ant I've ever kept. It was a slow start, but now, it doesn't even seem like they're gonna stop for hibernation... take a look:

NeU5ILg.jpg

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Unfortunately visibility in this setup isn't great, but you can see they've got lots of brood, tons of workers, and they've been eating almost entirely seeds. Starting to see some larger workers now as well. Not full sized as far as I know (pretty sure they can get as large as the queen), but pretty big.

 

Starting to think about a new nest for next year - I will probably 3D print something, but the real issue will be seeing if they can do well without sand. In the meantime, I've taken them off of the heating cable to try to get them to slow down for the winter. Not sure if that's working. I might just keep them going all winter, after all, in the south, this species doesn't hibernate at all (I think).

 

Next update will probably be next spring.


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#19 Offline Zeiss - Posted November 23 2019 - 6:27 PM

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Looks like they're doing well.  If you care about visibility, I've heard nests with views top-down work the best as they dirty side views very easily.


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#20 Offline Nare - Posted November 23 2019 - 10:34 PM

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Looks like they're doing well.  If you care about visibility, I've heard nests with views top-down work the best as they dirty side views very easily.

Will keep that in mind - anything I print is probably going to be top-down anyways. Might also try a petri-dish style nest.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: pogonomyrmex, occidentalis, formica, wheeleri, camponotus, pennsylvanicus, journal, ants

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