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Experience with Camponotus queen - Sudden DEATH!

anting capture death camponotus california care

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#1 Offline kgollehon - Posted February 3 2020 - 11:56 AM

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It was late last evening towards the end of a 10 mile hike, and I was notably looking forward to reaching the trailhead to catch an Uber back to my apartment. Darkness had crept over the Santa Monica Mountains quicker than I had anticipated. The sun had been blocked by a thick barreling wall of moist fog that almost made it hard to see the trail ahead of me. By the time night had fallen I was breaking out a newly charged headlamp to carefully make my way down the rest of the descending dirt path. It was around those last few miles that I started to notice an increasing amount of fauna: a plethora of spiders with eyes gleaming in the beam of my lamp, small beetles of various genre scurrying by, large toads, and even a scorpion made an appearance. 

 

That's when I found her, sitting right in the middle of the trail, a huge ant. I thought at first that it might just be another super major ( I had seen a few nests of workers clamoring about further up the trail). Getting a closer look, picking the ant up off the path, my heart just about leaped from my chest. I could see the scars from freshly torn wings, now absent on her hulking frame. To the best of my knowledge she was a Camponotus queen, a genus I have come across in the past. Quickly, I went into my backpack and removed a test tube and cotton ball to temporarily transport my new catch ( NEVER hike unprepared). Excitedly, I put the test tube in my front shirt pocket and continued along the trail. 

 

When I had finally arrived at my apartment, kicked off my boots and deservedly sat down, I took a look at my new queen to check on her status. My heart dropped. She was curled up, desperately trying to move as if half of her body was paralyzed. I took her out of the test tube and placed her on a plate, worried that the size of the glass tube may have restricted her movement. No improvement. Something must have happened, what I don't know. This is the second Camponotus queen that I have had suddenly die in transport. I don't assume this behavior is commonplace, I would think such a large genus could handle some transport stress. If anyone has any clues as to this mystery they'd greatly be appreciated. Today a queen is dead, a future colony lost to tragedy. 

 

 

 

See a video of the colony I came across: here

 

Workers near the entrance
Super major and worker

 


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Colonies: Tetramorium sp., Solenopsis xyloni

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#2 Offline Ants4fun - Posted February 3 2020 - 3:14 PM

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It’s hard to make a guess without knowing more info. Was the test tube new or used?

#3 Offline NickAnter - Posted February 3 2020 - 3:20 PM

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Sounds to me as though she was already ill, or, your test tube had a chemical in it which was poisonous to the species.


Hi there! I went on a 6 month or so hiatus, in part due, and in part cause of the death of my colonies. 

However, I went back to the Sierras, and restarted my collection, which is now as follows:

Aphaenogaster uinta, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus modoc, Formica cf. aserva, Formica cf. micropthalma, Formica cf. manni, Formica subpolita, Formica cf. subaenescens, Lasius americanus, Manica invidia, Pogonomyrmex salinus, Pogonomyrmex sp. 1, Solenopsis validiuscula, & Solenopsis sp. 3 (new Sierra variant). 


#4 Offline Canadian anter - Posted February 3 2020 - 3:40 PM

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Perhaps she was dehydrated
Visit us at www.canada-ant-colony.com !

#5 Offline Da_NewAntOnTheBlock - Posted February 3 2020 - 4:00 PM

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Sometimes, and I can't stress the sometimes enough, Camponotus. pennsylvanicus. queens 'play dead'. They look dead, act dead, and pretty much are dead, but 30 minutes- to a couple hours later, it's like they comeback from the dead. Give her a day, and if she doesn't respond then, look at the other quotes.


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#6 Offline gcsnelling - Posted February 3 2020 - 4:48 PM

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Most likely gassed herself with formic acid.


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#7 Offline kgollehon - Posted February 3 2020 - 5:30 PM

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Sometimes, and I can't stress the sometimes enough, Camponotus. pennsylvanicus. queens 'play dead'. They look dead, act dead, and pretty much are dead, but 30 minutes- to a couple hours later, it's like they comeback from the dead. Give her a day, and if she doesn't respond then, look at the other quotes.

 

When I wrote this post she hadn't fully succumbed yet, it was more an expectation as she was completely on her back and stumbling every time she tried to move. Currently to my surprise she is trying to pull herself out of it, however her middle legs don't seem to be functioning and she is periodically twitching. Will be sure to give updates! 


Colonies: Tetramorium sp., Solenopsis xyloni

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#8 Offline kgollehon - Posted February 3 2020 - 5:32 PM

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It’s hard to make a guess without knowing more info. Was the test tube new or used?

 

Brand new test tube straight out of the packaging. Could be that there was a chemical in it from manufacturing as someone above suggested but I haven't had issues with using the tubes with other species. 


Most likely gassed herself with formic acid.

 

What would be the mortality for something like that? Can she recover if that's the case?


Colonies: Tetramorium sp., Solenopsis xyloni

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#9 Offline kgollehon - Posted February 3 2020 - 5:41 PM

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Video of the queen's current behavior for anyone curious! Link: Here


Colonies: Tetramorium sp., Solenopsis xyloni

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#10 Offline ForestDragon - Posted February 3 2020 - 5:50 PM

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that is fanfic level writing my dude i like it


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#11 Offline kgollehon - Posted February 3 2020 - 6:07 PM

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that is fanfic level writing my dude i like it

 

Haha thank you! Figured I'd dose out some entertainment with my confusion 


Colonies: Tetramorium sp., Solenopsis xyloni

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#12 Offline gcsnelling - Posted February 3 2020 - 6:11 PM

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Yes it is possible to recover.


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#13 Offline Ghoul - Posted September 27 2020 - 6:16 PM

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What happened to her???

 

3 days ago I found a BUNCH of different queens.

 

I unexpectedly found a Camponotus pennsylvanicus queen with 10 workers under a rock that I had flipped. (No brood was visible)

 

The ants weren't injured either. I quickly scooped them into a medicine bottle that had tiny air holes, and went along finding queens. (I checked the spot they were all laying at to see if any brood might have been underground, but I didn't see anything...

 

The queen was definitely healthy. She was zipping around. For her size, she was a LOT quicker than I thought she would be... And there were like 3 majors, 1 super major, and the rest were small to medium size carpenter ants.

 

When I got home, I put them in a test-tube setup, as I thought it'd be best to do for right now, for the upcoming winter, and noticed how she looked almost cramped in the test-tube. But I put a small dab of honey near the entrance, and put a dead cricket near the honey.

 

I checked on her today, and again, she seemed fine. She was moving around, and everything. So I went to eat dinner, watched the 4:25 football game, and came back to check on the ants, because I was going to go back to the same location, to find more queens. (So it was about 3 hours. 4 max.)

 

I came back to see how they were adjusting, and thought I seen the queen was lying weird, motionless. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me since I wasn't using a light. So I used my phone light on the lowest setting, and checked it out, and my heart sank... The queen who I've tried looking for 3 years now for, and who was one of my favorite colonies I wanted to start, truly was lying there, not moving. I slowly rotated the test-tube, and she rolled on her back, not moving much at all. (Just really her antennae.)

 

I remember getting so excited 3 days ago, finding all these different queens, and then finding her... It's like a punch in the gut... She even had 10 workers, so I knew she was good to go!

 

But I immediately emptied out the test-tube. I put the workers in a medicine bottle, and had the queen out by herself. I noticed that she somehow has her front-left leg missing now... I honestly have no idea how this even happened, nor could I find the leg anywhere. I wet a sheet of paper towel, and put it on a piece of paper on my desk. I then put the queen on the paper towel. (hoping it would either hydrate her if she was hydrated, or bring a reaction out.)

 

I then put her back in the test-tube, and put her in the fridge a minute ago. So I'm going to check on her after I post this reply. (I had a Lasius neoniger that had suddenly "dropped dead" and was lying on her back, with her legs curled into a ball. The typical ant death pose. She was my first queen ever, so I definitely wanted to keep her alive. I put her in the new test-tube by herself, gently pushed her against the wet-cotton part, and put her in the fridge, and after 10 minutes. She miraculously was back to life. A little shaky, but that would go away as time went on, and I was able to keep her for 2 more years, before she unfortunately passed away a couple months ago...)

 

So I am hoping this method with work again here. Even if it's a different species... God, I hope so. Wish me luck guys! 


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