This is a first! Until just two days ago, I had never even seen a parasitic Formica queen, let alone had one for myself. However, as I was walking into a Culver's to eat lunch with AnthonyP163, he noticed a Formica queen out of the corner of his eye. Realizing she was a parasitic queen, we knew that we absolutely had to catch her. Catching her was quite the fiasco, as she was dipping in and out of a drainage grate and dodging us. However, we eventually got her into a test tube. He generously let me have her, as he has 3 queens of his own.
After lunch, we went and took a scoop out of a Formica subsericea mound to get some pupae. I was informed that there was a chance she would not care for pupae, and if that was the case I would have to introduce her to host workers rather than just pupae. However, to my delight, she almost immediately started carrying and organizing the pupae. She also drank from a small drop of honey that I offered to her.
Within around a day of her having the pupae, her first host worker eclosed. A few pupae seem to have died (most likely damaged during collection), which is a bit unfortunate, but she still has well over 2 dozen pupae left, so I'm positive she'll have enough hosts once they all eclose. I've heard people found queens with less than 10 hosts, so I'm confident I'll have at least some degree of success here, assuming that nothing goes wrong.
I'm really excited to get another parasite success under my belt. I've already successfully founded Aphaenogaster tennesseensis and my Lasius aphidicola colony is going to get their first biological worker within a few days, so I think Formica is the next logical step in the parasite world. I'm really excited to get her going, as parasitic Formica spp. are some of my favorite temperate ants. I have a hunch that this queen is F. aserva, or at least I hope so as they are one of my favorite species of parasitic Formica. Either way, no matter what species she is, I'm super stoked to have her.
Edited by CheetoLord02, February 24 2021 - 7:15 PM.