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Trachymyrmex septentrionalis Journal


33 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Mdrogun - Posted May 23 2020 - 12:17 PM

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Over the last couple days I had the opportunity to go to central IL with Cheeto and we were lucky enough to get colonies of Trachymyrmex septentrionalis. I am in the process of moving mine into their nests, but right now they are just living in the dirt. All of their fungus had clearly just come out of hibernation, but we were lucky enough to get the fungus our colonies did have, so hopefully they'll be able to recover like they would in the wild. I collected two colonies, one as an "insurance policy" as I know these ants are notoriously difficult to keep. Here is a video of my largest colony:

 

 

I'll be documenting their development in this journal. I'm quite excited as these are from the northernmost extent of the species' range.


  • AnthonyP163, CheetoLord02, PacificNorthWestern and 3 others like this

Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#2 Offline Antkid12 - Posted May 23 2020 - 12:40 PM

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nice! I love fungus growers!  (y)


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Ants I have: Tapinoma sessile(2 queen colony). RED MORPH Camponotus neacticus(now has pupae!), Tetramorium immigrans (x3), Aphaenogaster sp, Temnothorax sp, Brachymyrmex sp.   possibly infertile   :(,  Ponera pennsylvanica, and Pheidole morrisi!  :yahoo: 

 

Other insects: Polistes sp. Queen

                    

Ants I need: Pheidole sp., Trachymyrmex sp., Crematogaster cerasi , Dorymyrmex sp. Most wanted: Pheidole morrisii

 

                    

                   

 

 


#3 Offline Mdrogun - Posted May 23 2020 - 1:17 PM

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I wasn't even sure if they were going to be willing to "eat" yet, but apparently they are. I fed them some oats to see if they'd be interested, and they sure were! Man, I feel like a kid again keeping my first ant colony. These are sooo cool, I never thought I'd ever be able to get a colony of them, let alone two xD

Video:


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Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#4 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 25 2020 - 7:18 PM

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If you ever need any help with these gals, just let me know. I currently have 3 colonies (one with 14 queens!) and they're all doing great. I've been called the Attine master on more than one occasion. Anyways, good luck with these gals!


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#5 Online CheetoLord02 - Posted May 25 2020 - 11:16 PM

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If you ever need any help with these gals, just let me know. I currently have 3 colonies (one with 14 queens!) and they're all doing great. I've been called the Attine master on more than one occasion. Anyways, good luck with these gals!

wow, 14 queens is insane! Both myself and Mdrogun were lucky enough to dig up colonies with 2 queens, so 14 must be insane! Do you know if they're all reproductively active or if any act as workers? I know Trachymyrmex are supposedly notorious for getting "worker-queens" but from the looks of it both of the queens in my colony seem to be treated as normal queens and not like workers.


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pizap (4)

 

 


#6 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 26 2020 - 7:53 AM

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If you ever need any help with these gals, just let me know. I currently have 3 colonies (one with 14 queens!) and they're all doing great. I've been called the Attine master on more than one occasion. Anyways, good luck with these gals!

wow, 14 queens is insane! Both myself and Mdrogun were lucky enough to dig up colonies with 2 queens, so 14 must be insane! Do you know if they're all reproductively active or if any act as workers? I know Trachymyrmex are supposedly notorious for getting "worker-queens" but from the looks of it both of the queens in my colony seem to be treated as normal queens and not like workers.

 

Trachymyrmex colonies are typically polygynous during the first year or so, but one of the queens either resorts to worker duties or is cast out of the colony after a certain point. I have no idea what is going on with the colony I found (found only a few weeks ago with scouting out the closest Pogonomyrmex population). I highly doubt they are all active dealates, and it is possible that all of the queens were alates that failed to fly one year and have therefore resorted to worker duties. Whatever the case, it's a very interesting thing to study.


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#7 Offline Mdrogun - Posted May 26 2020 - 11:43 AM

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If you ever need any help with these gals, just let me know. I currently have 3 colonies (one with 14 queens!) and they're all doing great. I've been called the Attine master on more than one occasion. Anyways, good luck with these gals!

What is your feeding routine for them looking like? I still can't see all of the fungus cause these irritating lil dudes are taking forever to leave their soil xD. But, the fungus that I have seen, does appear to be quite healthy. All I'm feeding is oats, the occasional leaf I find, or lettuce, and honey for the workers. 


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Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#8 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 26 2020 - 12:34 PM

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If you ever need any help with these gals, just let me know. I currently have 3 colonies (one with 14 queens!) and they're all doing great. I've been called the Attine master on more than one occasion. Anyways, good luck with these gals!

What is your feeding routine for them looking like? I still can't see all of the fungus cause these irritating lil dudes are taking forever to leave their soil xD. But, the fungus that I have seen, does appear to be quite healthy. All I'm feeding is oats, the occasional leaf I find, or lettuce, and honey for the workers. 

 

My largest and most prolific colony typically feeds on both rose petals (they go through an entire rose in a single day) and oak catkins. They will also frequently accept sugar water, which can be fun to give them, as their fungus will be dotted with drops of the liquid. They also will take certain grasses on occasion. If you want to start feeding them a particular type of leaf, I find cutting the leaf up into smaller strips works very well, as they require little to no cutting, and the ants can get well acclimated to it before taking an entire leaf or rose petal or whatnot.


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#9 Offline Mdrogun - Posted May 27 2020 - 9:23 PM

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My colony finally started moving in to their nest tonight! They have quite an impressive amount of fungus considering they just came out of hibernation. I'd estimate they have ~500 workers, and presumably just 1 queen.

 

Here's a video when they were 'mostly' moved in, although I think they still have a bit of fungus and some more colony members in the old nest:


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Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#10 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 27 2020 - 11:18 PM

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My colony finally started moving in to their nest tonight! They have quite an impressive amount of fungus considering they just came out of hibernation. I'd estimate they have ~500 workers, and presumably just 1 queen.

 

Here's a video when they were 'mostly' moved in, although I think they still have a bit of fungus and some more colony members in the old nest:

Not a bad colony! Also yes, the fungus of these ants does grow incredibly quickly, and given you feed them the right foods, will presumably double in size in about a week. Also, Trachymyrmex start coming out of hibernation in mid-late March, though in your region it would probably be more along the lines of mid April. In any case, fungus of this size is to be expected. In fact, I'm surprised they don't have more of it! Colonies here have fungus that could fit snugly in both hands extended. My largest, most successful colony, which was collected just over a month ago, started out with no fungus at all. I boosted them with a tiny speck of fungus from another colony I collected, and now, 2 months later, the fungus takes up two deep-dish petri dishes! The colony also has an insane amount of brood, with the eggs the queen laid less than 2 months ago finally beginning to pupate. I expect this colony to get alates this year, though considering the colony currently has no visible alate brood and alates begin to appear in the nests in around late June to early July, I'm beginning to think otherwise. The colony may still be a bit too young, only containing around 200 workers at the moment. Long story short, these gals are fun! Good luck with them!


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#11 Offline Mdrogun - Posted May 28 2020 - 1:16 PM

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My colony finally started moving in to their nest tonight! They have quite an impressive amount of fungus considering they just came out of hibernation. I'd estimate they have ~500 workers, and presumably just 1 queen.

 

Here's a video when they were 'mostly' moved in, although I think they still have a bit of fungus and some more colony members in the old nest:

Not a bad colony! Also yes, the fungus of these ants does grow incredibly quickly, and given you feed them the right foods, will presumably double in size in about a week.

I have honestly noticed faster growth than this. I have had them for roughly a week now and the fungus is easily 3x the mass it was when I first got them. I do keep the nest at 80-82F tho, so that may explain what I'm seeing. Thanks for your input and advice tho! Really helps, it seems like hardly anyone keeps these ants.


  • Ant_Dude2908 and Ferox_Formicae like this

Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#12 Offline Mdrogun - Posted May 30 2020 - 11:54 AM

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The fungus has grown quite significantly since my last update, even though its only been a couple of days. I am really impressed with the speed the fungus manages to grow; It has completely taken me by surprise. Today I got them some actual leafy greens, and they responded by cutting them up and bringing them into the nest. Here is a video of them cutting the leaves:
 

 

I will post an update of their fungus growth in the next few days so that the progression is more astonishing  :yahoo:


Edited by Mdrogun, May 30 2020 - 11:55 AM.

  • AnthonyP163, Ant_Dude2908, CheetoLord02 and 2 others like this

Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#13 Offline Canadant - Posted May 30 2020 - 2:59 PM

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So cool. I'm a bit jelly (jealous). Such a cool looking ant. There are so many more interesting species in America.
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"You don't get what you want. You get what you deserve".

#14 Offline Mdrogun - Posted June 1 2020 - 12:37 PM

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So cool. I'm a bit jelly (jealous). Such a cool looking ant. There are so many more interesting species in America.

That's how us Americans feel about Mexico and the Carribean  :lol: . Tbh the Northern Midwest, where I live, isn't a whole lot different from Canada. I only was able to get these because I went farther south in Illinois.


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Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#15 Offline Mdrogun - Posted June 1 2020 - 1:00 PM

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Well, today is the day. The fungus is growing stupidly fast. Unfortunately, since the weather has been 'colder' here, I haven't been able to keep my room in that same 78-82F temperature range like I had hoped. However, I have moved a heating cable somewhat close to the nest and it is radiating a few degrees of heat. The colony probably sits between 78-80F during the day, and drops down to 74-76F at night. Not bad. Here is an overview of their fungus:

 

Some close-up footage of the fungus itself:

 

These guys are growing like mad, and I do believe that the queen is now laying eggs, or at the very least preparing to, as she has become quite physogastric.


  • AnthonyP163, CheetoLord02, AntsDakota and 2 others like this

Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#16 Offline AntsDakota - Posted June 1 2020 - 1:55 PM

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So cool. I'm a bit jelly (jealous). Such a cool looking ant. There are so many more interesting species in America.

That's how us Americans feel about Mexico and the Carribean  :lol: . Tbh the Northern Midwest, where I live, isn't a whole lot different from Canada. I only was able to get these because I went farther south in Illinois.

Very true. A South Dakotan winter would wipe out every colony of these that ever existed.  :lol:  :facepalm:


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#17 Offline Mdrogun - Posted June 9 2020 - 10:03 AM

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The colony is continuing to grow, as usual. I haven't seen any brood, at least I don't think I have, so I'm kind of curious as to when I'll start seeing brood.

 

Anyways, here's a neat time-lapse:


  • Aaron567, Ant_Dude2908, CheetoLord02 and 2 others like this

Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#18 Offline Mdrogun - Posted June 17 2020 - 1:18 PM

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I spotted their first larvae today! Huge sigh of relief. I was very worried about the overall health of the colony, since I hadn't seen any eggs since their collection.

Obligate video:


  • Aaron567, Ant_Dude2908, CheetoLord02 and 1 other like this

Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#19 Offline Mdrogun - Posted June 24 2020 - 3:40 PM

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The colony is doing very well. They even have some pupae, as well as brood of all stages. The fungus is also continuing to grow at quite a pleasing rate. It is wider than a baseball, but it certainly doesn't have the volume of one  :lol: . I've started feeding them Rose petals in the last week-ish and it has definitely helped to accelerate their growth and seemingly keep the fungus healthy. They are constantly cutting them and bringing them inside for the fungus, which seems to be covered 24/7.

 

Here's a picture of them:


The sides of this setup have made it quite difficult to get pictures or videos of them. The plastic is cheap on its own, and those issues are compounded by the humidity.


Edit: I made a cool time-lapse of them bringing in rose petals and adding them to the garden. Thought I'd share ;)


Edited by Mdrogun, June 24 2020 - 5:06 PM.

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Currently Keeping:
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

Pheidole pilifera

Forelius sp. (Monogynous, bicolored) "Midwestern Forelius"
Crematogaster cerasi

Pheidole bicarinata

Aphaenogaster rudis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Formica sp. (microgena species)

Nylanderia cf. arenivega


#20 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted June 24 2020 - 4:07 PM

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Very nice! My colony's queen died, but there are plenty of female alate pupae, and lots of worker larvae, so I will try to breed the females with wild caught males this season. Hopefully out of the 10 ish females I can get a couple past founding.


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