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Latun`s Formica rufibarbis Journal


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#1 Offline LaTun - Posted February 29 2020 - 8:15 AM

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Hello, in this journal I will update you on my colonies and document their growth.

 

For now, I will just focus on my Camponotus cruentatus and Serviformica rufibarbis. But once my Pogonomyrmex barbatus and Camponotus turkestanus have their first workers I will post Updates on them too.

 

So now let's get on with the journal.

 

(Servi)formica rufibarbis

 

26.6.2019

 

I caught the queen and identified her, ith the help of a german ant keeping discord server, as Serviformica rufibarbis . One of my favourite native species.

 

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I then put her in a test tube setup and left her alone for about 2 weeks.

 

10.7.2019

 

We have some pupae. I counted around 10.

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As I was about to leave on a family vacation, I poked a straw through the front cotton and put the covered test tube in a small outworld. There I offered some honey.

 

 

 

31.7.2019

 

Back from a very relaxing vacation, I checked up on all my Ants. All of them did great while I was gone.
Most of her pupae hatched and they somehow managed to catch a fruitfly.

 

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But I also encountered some problems with this colony, they did not seem to like any of the sugary foods I offered them.
After weeks of trying they finally took some diluted invert sugar.

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End of Oktober

 

The queen hasn´t laid any eggs since her initial founding batch.
They went into hibernation with all of my other native species and are all huddled together near the cotton.

 

 

 

29.02.2020

 

I spend some money and bought an Antfarm with Outworld from AntStore.

This will hopefully last them at least 20 years. The farm is 20cm * 20cm * 2cm and the outworld is 20cm *cm *10cm.
I will probably just lay the test tube in the outworld and once its filled take the cotton plug out of the tubing so that the ants can move into the antfarm.

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Until Easter, this will be the last update on this colony, as they are still in hibernation.
 

 


Edited by LaTun, May 12 2020 - 8:40 AM.

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#2 Offline Da_NewAntOnTheBlock - Posted February 29 2020 - 9:32 AM

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interesting! Glad to see some success with Formica on the other side of the pond! Keep up the good work!


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


#3 Offline AntsDakota - Posted February 29 2020 - 4:03 PM

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Formica forever!  :D


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"God made..... all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. (including ants) And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 NIV version


#4 Offline LaTun - Posted March 1 2020 - 3:11 AM

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Thanks for the positive feedback from all the Formica lovers around here.

 

Now let´s get on with the journal, but this time with a different species.

 

Camponotus cruentatus

 

A large species of carpenter ant from southern Europe. They are large ants but compared to the native Camponotus (herculeanus, ligniperda) their colonies can grow quite fast. They love warm temperatures and their colonies can reach massive proportions into the high ten thousand.

 

I first fell in love with this species while visiting Spain on a school trip. The beautiful majors were foraging on the sun deck. So I finally decided to buy myself a colony.

 

13.02.2020

 

Finally received my small colony after 3 days in shipping. I got a really beautiful, large queen (around 16mm) with four nanitics (around 5mm) and a small cluster of 5-6 larvae.

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But in future, the workers will range in size from minors with 6mm in length to massive majors with 14mm in length.

 

I put them in a small plastic outworld with some sand, poked a straw through the front cotton plug and placed a cover over test-tube.

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For now, they are still in Diapause so they require minimal food and water. But nonetheless, I offered some diluted maple syrup and a few baby crickets in front of their nest entrance.

 

20.02.2020

 

The ants settled in great.

I´ve been keeping them cool (17 Degrees Celsius) but they have been relatively active. Eating a baby cricket or fruitfly every day and dragging substrate into the nest.

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In about a week I am going to turn the heating lamp on.

 

 

28.02.2020

 

Today I turned the heating lamp on for the first time. It´s on a timer and gets turned on around 10 am and gets turned off at 9 pm.

Directly under the heating lamp, the temperature is around 31 °C, in front of the nest entrance its around 29 ° C, and at the back of the box around 25 °C.

 

The ants really like the high temperatures, when I came home from school 3 of 4 workers were sitting directly under the lamp and taking a sunbath. Of course, once the realized I was there 2 quickly retreated back into the nest. The remaining worker started to drink from the maple syrup and dragged 4 fruit flys back to the nest.

 

Hopefully, the larvae will grow fast and a new batch of eggs will be laid.

 

 

That was it for today, the net post will be in 2-3 weeks when I will peek into the nest and take some good pictures.

 

 

 


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#5 Offline Da_NewAntOnTheBlock - Posted March 1 2020 - 6:15 AM

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They'er eating with surprising voraciousness, so I would recon the queen laid more eggs, and you got some larvae. Looks like these gals are going to grow fast for 'ya, congrats on having a wonderful colony! Seems they're doing normal Camponotus stuff, and I would keep on doing what you're doing, good job  (y)


Edited by Da_NewAntOnTheBlock, March 1 2020 - 6:15 AM.

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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


#6 Offline LaTun - Posted April 10 2020 - 12:16 PM

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Time for the next Update.
 

(Servi-)Formica rufibarbis

 

 

16.03.2020

 

Moved the colony out of the fridge.
Sadly a few workers did not make it through hibernation. So the colony is down to six workers.

 

 

10.04.2020

 

First, look into the test tube after hibernation.
They have a batch of 15-20 eggs and the queen's abdomen is huge.
However, they have been fairly inactive, only coming out when I'm not in the room. They filled themselves up with sugar water dragged a mealworm into the nest and then barricaded themselves in.

 

I didn't take any pictures of them since they already were running around franticly in typical serviformica fashion.


Camponotus cruentatus

This colony is doing very well.

 

 

26.03.2020

I upgraded their setup a bit, now I can properly observe them from my desk.
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The setup is composed of a critter keeper, with some grout and sand on the bottom) and an external 3d printed Simants Nest: The nest is still blocked off with some cotton.
the heating lamp ist positioned over half of the outworld which the ants really enjoy.
But I also noticed a change in behaviour, they stopped talking proteins, but the larvae are still growing.

Instead, they have been drinking massive amounts of sugar water.

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10.04.2020

I peeked into the nest and they made lots of progress.

They finally have their first pupae. And another very large larvae.

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So the current count of the colony is:

1 queen

4 workers

0eggs

3-4 larvae (1 large one, 2-3 very small ones)
2 pupae

 

 

They still don´t eat any proteins, but the larvae are looking well feed and healthy so I am not concerned.
And now that the weather is finally warming up, I have the opportunity to catch some feeders outside, to offer a greater variety of insects to them and find out what they really love.

 

 

Some sad news, my Pogonomyrmex barbatus queen sadly passed away.
and the Camponotus turkestanus queen isn´t looking too good either. She fails to raise her brood beyond the egg stage.

 

Until next time.


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#7 Offline LaTun - Posted May 1 2020 - 10:15 AM

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Its Update Time for the Formica colonie.

 

The colony has been very active these past view weeks since all of the eggs hatched and the larvae already pupated.

 

I´ve been feeding them mostly flies,red runner roaches and sugar water or mapel syrup.
This amount of food has kept the queen well-fed and ready to lay the next batch of eggs.

So the cuurent count of the colony is:

 

1 Queen

5 workers (all black)

4-5 eggs (hopefully more on the way)

1-2 larvae 

22 pupae

 

As you can see quite a brood pile.

Hopefully some of the new workers will have the typical red and black Formica rufibarbis colloration.
If they continue at this speed they might be able to move into the antfarm before hibernation.

 

So until next time

 


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#8 Offline LaTun - Posted May 1 2020 - 10:26 AM

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I also took some pictures of the colony.

 

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A picture of the nest, quite a brood pile indeed.

 

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A worker feeding on some maple syrup...

 

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while her sister is dragging in half a roach

 

 


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#9 Offline LaTun - Posted May 9 2020 - 9:37 AM

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Camponotus cruentatus

 

05.05.2020

 

Sad News for the colony 2 of their 4 workers sadly died.
But the colonie is doing great otherwise they have 4 pupae, to are almost ready to hatch.

I feed them proteins every 2-3 days mostly flies and red runner roaches. They always have access to diluted maple syrup or sugar water.
 

A worker carrying a fly

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Also, their test tube is kinda running low on water so I´ll have to offer a new one soon.

 

On a positive note, I ordered a new formicarium for them which should be arriving in the next few days.

 

 

09.05.2020

 

Yesterday the new tank arrived.
I quickly set it up and put the old test tube in. A new test tube was attached via the left opening and the ants quickly moved since the old one started to leak a bit.

 

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It´s not finished yet, I still need some leaflitter and a few succulents.  Feel free to post some feedback.
 

The even better news is two of the pupae hatched and the queen laid a new batch of eggs.

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Until next time

 


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#10 Offline LaTun - Posted May 11 2020 - 10:18 AM

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Hey, this time I am going to show you a colonie I recently acquired from a friend. He sadly had to get out of ant keeping and left me his Lasius niger colonie.

 

These little girls have a special place in my heart, a queen of this species started my ant keeping career, but I sadly had to give away my colonie due to a move.
So was quite happy to take on these little ferocious girls. I am not 100% sure if I am going to keep them long term but for now they have a home with me.

 

They are currently being housed in a simple plastic container filled with red sand and a test tube. They have dug themselves into the sand (which was intended so by my friend) and are currently living half in the test tube and half in their dirt nest. I estimate the colony size around 40-50 workers and loads of brood.

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I am not really a fan of this setup so I am going to build a nice plaster nest or buy an acrylic nest. Not really sure right now which it´s going to be.

For carbohydrates, they get mostly diluted maple syrup and for proteins mostly roaches, flies and mealworms as well as the odd cricket. They consume loads of both and always drag any Insect I place inside into their tunnels.


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Queen with a part of her brood, they keep most of their larvae under the ground.

 

As you can see this colony is growing incredibly fast and probably have several hundred workers at the end of this season.

 


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#11 Offline AntsDakota - Posted May 11 2020 - 10:41 AM

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Wow- that's a lot of eggs.


"God made..... all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. (including ants) And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 NIV version


#12 Offline LaTun - Posted May 11 2020 - 10:48 AM

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Yes Lasius niger Queen´s are egg-laying machines. This colony is less then a year old.


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#13 Offline AntsDakota - Posted May 11 2020 - 10:50 AM

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Yes Lasius niger Queen´s are egg-laying machines. This colony is less then a year old.

I've observed that Lasius neoniger lay a lot of eggs in comparison to other local species, sometimes even rivaling Tetramorium, however I've never seen them lay that many.  :)


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"God made..... all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. (including ants) And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 NIV version


#14 Offline LaTun - Posted May 11 2020 - 11:06 AM

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Interesting. I always thought neoniger was exactly the same as niger, just overseas. Or I was always lucky and got particularly healthy queens.

Here Lasius niger has overtaken all the city areas, maybe one or two Tetramorium colonies but the Lasius definitely dominate and kill any colonie that appears in their territory. Quite aggressive little ants, that's why they are so fun to keep.



#15 Offline AntsDakota - Posted May 11 2020 - 1:58 PM

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Interesting. I always thought neoniger was exactly the same as niger, just overseas. 

Lasius niger is actually much more aggressive than neoniger, and is darker in color. I believe they may also be a tiny bit smaller (I'm not 100% sure on this, but I think). Colonies also grow larger than neoniger. I actually think niger is more like americanus or alienus than it is to neoniger.


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"God made..... all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. (including ants) And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 NIV version


#16 Offline LaTun - Posted May 12 2020 - 8:44 AM

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I´ve decided to keep separate journals for all my species. Hopefully, this will make the whole journal clearer and easier to read.
Once there is progress on my Camponotus cruentatus and Lasius niger I will start the separate journals and link them here.


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#17 Offline LaTun - Posted May 13 2020 - 9:48 AM

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13.05.2020

 

The Formica colony is doing great. They moved into a clean test tube and are now much easier to observe.

 

Also, the pupae started hatching, I saw 4 callow workers in total with more on the way. :yahoo:

 

So now the colonie counts as followed:

1 queen

10 workers
10-15 eggs

0 larvae

20 pupae

 

If the colonie continues to grow like this they will probably surpass 100 workers by the end of this years season.

 

 

A very pale worker being groomed by the queen

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#18 Offline AntsDakota - Posted May 13 2020 - 10:47 AM

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I wish my Formica would grow this fast.


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"God made..... all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. (including ants) And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 NIV version


#19 Offline LaTun - Posted May 27 2020 - 5:58 AM

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27.05.2020

 

They are doing really great, a ton of new workers have hatched. The population is now around 20-25 workers, with all stages of brood present.
New workers are emerging almost daily.

But hey have been fairly picky with what proteins they drag back to the nest. Crickets are being completely ignored. So far they are only willing to take flys but they attack those quite fourios.
Once my dubia colony is back to a larger population I will offer them some of those. So for now I am training my skills in catching flies.


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#20 Offline Thunder_Birds - Posted May 27 2020 - 7:19 AM

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13.05.2020

 

The Formica colony is doing great. They moved into a clean test tube and are now much easier to observe.

 

Also, the pupae started hatching, I saw 4 callow workers in total with more on the way. :yahoo:

 

So now the colonie counts as followed:

1 queen

10 workers
10-15 eggs

0 larvae

20 pupae

 

If the colonie continues to grow like this they will probably surpass 100 workers by the end of this years season.

 

 

A very pale worker being groomed by the queen

attachicon.gifIMG_8026.JPG

Wow, that’s great. Keep doin' what your doin', because it’s workin.


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