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Story of my Manica Rubida Colony

journal red ants big red ants ant queen fire ants antaholic anonymous new thats it with the tags manica rubida

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#101 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 15 2021 - 6:48 AM

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By the way my attempt at ID is themnothorax curvispinosus.
The queen was very destinct and the workers are also a match as far as I can tell. That way I also know we are talking about the same colony most likely.

#102 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted April 1 2021 - 3:53 PM

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The things that changed the most recently are their level of aggression and their numbers.

The themnothorax I added are not doing too well I imagine.
At first I've seen them around a lot but the manica picked off many. They are very aggressive towards other ants. They attack 1 small themnothorax with 8 workers.
It looks like 8 of us are choking out a squirrel together. lol
They are very serious about their territory.

They also don't tolerate anything near their entrance as they used to. They beheaded this woodlouse for not respecting the boundaries and trying to hang around the entrance in the night.





Today I threw in like 80 fruit flies and 6 big crickets just to see how they would handle it.
For the first time ever they came out with 60 ants. That might not sound crazy but having 60 big red stinging ants boiling out with open mandibles is pretty impressive.
They ripped off all the limbs and the head before they took the crickets in.
Their presence in the cave has trippled which is now a full blown satellite nest.
I'll purchase some other critters for the cave soon that I know will survive.
More on that soon
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#103 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted February 24 2022 - 8:25 AM

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It's been a while since the last update because everything was pretty smooth sailing.

They are a big colony by now probably close to 400 or 500 ants.
One mission I have ahead of me is trying to introduce another queen or two to get them even bigger.
Before that I will upgrade their territory.
They never caused me issues and they haven't tried to break out since I gave them their huge tank.
As a thank you to them they receive something they lost a long time ago.
Their floating island.
A new and better one.



This side will only need minor upgrades.




I ripped out the entire cave structure here, let the soil dry and removed everything including the drainage layer.
What surprised me the most is how good the soil still smells.
It was a super humid hunting and dying ground for tons of insects with not much of an air flow and decaying mosses and mushrooms for years. But the ecosystem seems to work just fine. Smelled like the soil in the forest.

That area will have a floating island above it. And if I can pull it off a lake out of epoxy resin.
Around the lake a forest designed to house other insects like the cave did.
Building around stinging ants is also a lot more exciting than it needs to be.
I could wear gloves but I feel a lot cooler without.

I'll update when it's done.
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#104 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted April 10 2022 - 11:41 AM

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That's what i have currently.
I made the pool that's gonna be filled with resin to make a pond. I'll take my time with doing the underwater scaping cause I only have one try to pour the resin.
Ill do a couple jars to practice first.





That's gonna have a cliff over top of it which I'm working on right now.
It's difficult because the cave structure has to hold up the floating island.
I got the parts mostly done but discretely and securely connecting them is not so easy.





To make space for the pond I destroyed the living space for the isopods, millipedes, centipedes etc. and they retreated into the drainage.
I made a cave entrance on both sides of the tank so everyone can freely access the drainage and I upgraded it to triple the size with more gravel and a big maze of rocks under the soil.
The openings are also important for ventilation. Things life, kill and die down there so we need air circulation.





That's what's underneath.
All the insects I'll add in this season will likely live in that area under the soil and the cover of the red plactic foliage.
Like back when I had the big moss cave the ants will travel across the tank underground and on the surface to hunt here.





Something I noticed for the first time on the ants themselves are those orange spots on their gasters.
If you look at the gaster upside down it looks like an alien head with orange eyes. lol
The colony is pretty big now and very active and aggressive.
Working in there takes a lot of focus but to this day I never got stung and not a single breakout attempt. There's not one ant climbing the glass. I love em

Soon I want to mark some of them with colored dots to track them individually to see if they station specific ants at those hunting grounds or if it's random who comes over.

We will see
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#105 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted June 26 2022 - 2:16 PM

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This is the current state of their home.
Its darker and more reflective because I just watered it.

I added a mountainous terrain with a tunnel up front to further separate their nest from the hunting grounds to increase the distance they travel and give other critters hiding spots.
Their main living area on the right also got major upgrades.
I added all kinds of insects with isopods being the majority but they all got killed immediately.

I just counted 140 ants on the surface which is a lot considering the size of them which keeps me from doing further work. They are super aggressive now and will kill anything that enters the tank and can't run fast enough.
I'm very proud of this colony for reaching maturity and its amazing to observe their change in attitude.
Once timid and careful and now killers.

They made one big pile of corpses round about 80 to 100. Judging off of when they had the rapid increase in worker numbers that correlate with the wave of deaths now the ~2 year lifespan I found on Google seems accurate.

Next I'll try to create an environment that allows other insects not to get murdered. Not sure how but I'll find a way. The cave I had was full of different species living along side each other so I'll try to replicate that soon.
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#106 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted April 14 2023 - 5:34 AM

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They are dead.

I'm not sure what to think of this and what exactly happened but they are all dead.
Everything went great until I offered them some food and noticed the lack of activity.
The colony lived for 3,5 years and they were the best colony I could've wished for. As an ant keeper you're used to individual ants dying but for their legacy to stop and possibly because of me is harder to stomach than I thought.

In the next days I have to dig up their entire setup to figure out exactly what happened and where all the corpses are.
I have 2 theories as to what happened.
Either there was a parasite on the stinkbugs that kept getting in their setup or the soil got too dry and that killed them. I've been very sick recently and couldn't pay much attention to them and they are sensitive to humidity. I think I killed them.

It's very sad. I loved them and had big plans for the near future but I wanna get back on the horse as soon as possible.
I'll completely redo their setup and I'll make sure to honor their legacy and give them a shrine of some sort.

I'm in the process of dedicating an antire room to ant keeping so this setup and many more in the future will be miles ahead of what I've done so far. It's sad they will never see what I had planned for them but I'll raise the next manica colony that can follow their footsteps.
This story has concluded but I'm glad I have this journal to remember everything that happened.
It was a great time and they were amazing.
RIP
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#107 Offline ANTdrew - Posted April 14 2023 - 10:11 AM

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That’s sad. Sorry, man. I hope you can have even more success with a new colony.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#108 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted April 14 2023 - 10:14 AM

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Such a cool enclosure you had them in. RIP. Sorry for your loss.


Edited by AntsCali098, April 14 2023 - 10:17 AM.

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Interested buying in ants? Feel free to check out my shop

Feel free to read my journals, like this one.

 

Wishlist:

Atta sp (wish they were in CA), Crematogaster cerasi, Most Pheidole species

 

 


#109 Offline Ernteameise - Posted April 14 2023 - 10:30 AM

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Oh this is sad.

However, that setup looks awesome.

I keep my fingers crossed it will work out next time.


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#110 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted April 15 2023 - 8:36 AM

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Thank you for your kind words, talking about it made me feel a lot better.



I have completely taken apart their home.
All the substrate is in bags, the drainage pebbles are sieved to separate them from the soil, the foam structure is intact but removed and the tank now ready to be moved into the future ant room.




I had this setup ready before I even had a bed in my apartment. Their home was the very first priority to me as soon as I moved in.
Over the years of watching them construct the nest I always imagined what their deep catacombs look like and I've always wished I could crawl in there to see it for myself.
Their collective creation over many hundreds of combined work hours.

Now that they are gone I had the opportunity to dig out every square inch by hand and break open every last chamber and tunnel. I've just had like an x ray scan of the thing I wondered about for the past 3,5 years.

The picture above is a solidified piece from deep within the chambers I was able to break out and preserve.
The entire sand filled structure I made for them was transformed into one deep system of tunnels and chambers all the way through. It had connections to all corners of the terrarium even throughout the entire drainage. The nest was enormous.

I made sure to collect evidence of their work like this one which will be woven into the new design for a new colony.
The new terrarium will be a completely new landscape with ruins of the past like we have from our past cultures.

As soon as I can start I will make a new journal that branches off of this one. Thanks for reading the "story of my manica rubida colony".
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