Jump to content

  • Chat
  •  
  •  



Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

Photo
* * * * * 5 votes

Lasius niger (Wegmier)


  • Please log in to reply
116 replies to this topic

#101 Offline Wegmier - Posted March 25 2021 - 4:09 PM

Wegmier

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 95 posts
  • LocationThe Netherlands

Update 42: New nest, new outworld & alate pupae (March 26 2021)

The majority of the larvae have pupated now, there's a couple thousand workers on the way!

 
This update is going to be a photo dump going over each nest and some things that are happening in the colony
 
I hooked up the new nest and outworld that I made for them:

5P2NiTB.jpg

 
The outworld is just a big tub with hardened loamsand, wood and a bust of Emperor Augustus because why not:

LnMrh66.jpg

The colony's oldest Ytong nest, the one they were first hooked up to last year
There's some yellow-ish looking larvae in some parts of this nest. These failed to spin a cocoon and are going through pupation naked! There's a few of these every year:
 

LAS5ycX.jpg

Their second Ytong nest. Most of the alate pupae are stored here. This is also the queen's royal residence, she has lived in the bottom left chamber of this nest for almost a year now:

7jiIMvV.jpg

Their third and vertical nest. Scattered piles of larvae and pupae. Most of the brood form this nest was relocated to the new nest not long after it was attached:

otHsqy3.jpg
 
The new, fourth Ytong nest they received last week. Only used for larva storage at the moment:
 

as7wL2c.jpg

 

Forbidden rice:
 
PFLWQdo.png

 
Alate pupae:
Even though they look huge compared to the workers, I still feel like these alate pupae are pretty small compared to the ones I see in the wild. I guess we'll see soon enough
 

aC4keyQ.png

 
Left = larvae, right = the early stage naked pupae that I mentioned earlier. Recognizable because they got rid of their gut contents
 

whkhgPo.png

 
Some starting to go through metamorphosis:
 

ks2u4jr.png
  
The worker pupae in nest#2. Stacked to the ceiling, it's a 1.5 - 2cm tall pile
 
pbLCp66.jpg

A little timelapse of workers cycling this pile

 


  • CheetoLord02, Kaelwizard, ANTdrew and 5 others like this

1 x Lasius niger -  https://www.formicul...-wegmier/page-6

1 x Lasius flavus - https://www.formicul...flavus-wegmier/

4 x Camponotus fedtschenkoi - https://www.formicul...-wegmier/page-2


#102 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted March 26 2021 - 3:49 AM

Kaelwizard

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,851 posts
  • LocationPoway, California

"Forbidden rice"

 

This made me laugh for some reason.

 

It is so cool how they organize their brood like that, with larvae in one nest and pupae in another.

 


Edited by Kaelwizard, March 26 2021 - 3:51 AM.

  • Antkeeper01 likes this

#103 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 26 2021 - 3:54 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 7,549 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Argh!!! I wish my work computer wouldn't block all the photo sharing sites.


  • Kaelwizard likes this
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#104 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted March 26 2021 - 3:58 AM

Kaelwizard

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,851 posts
  • LocationPoway, California

Argh!!! I wish my work computer wouldn't block all the photo sharing sites.

Is there a setting that blocks them that you can turn off? I'm not sure why that would happen.



#105 Offline Wegmier - Posted April 28 2021 - 3:38 AM

Wegmier

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 95 posts
  • LocationThe Netherlands

Update 43: The great escape (April 28 2021)

 

The colony breached through a talcum barrier of their outworld


Ants were everywhere. On my bed, in the bathroom, in the toilet. I'm guessing 1.000 - 2.000 workers escaped

Some of the escaped workers moved into the water reservoirs of the Ytong nests

2bA7QP5.jpg

Or on the floor of the shower:

AXER8qG.png

Most of the escapees were roaming on the floor. I returned around 200 workers to the colony. After five days I stopped seeing them

The colony lost maybe a month or two worth of last years' progress. The rooms in the nests were noticeably more empty after the escape.
Fortunately they had so many pupae that eclosed shortly after, they've reached pre-escape numbers again!

The last of the naked pupae eclosing:

 
0woVksJ.jpg
 
The alates have begun eclosing as well:
 
snj8dNf.png
 
They are constantly being tended to by workers:
 
B8RZFrI.jpg
 
Not for the faint of heart but... A dove in my garden was eaten by a sparrow hawk, there was a carcass and tiny bits of meat strewn about... And I never pass on the chance to give my colony more variety in their diet  :whistle: 
 

WcmO0HC.jpg


Edited by Wegmier, July 15 2021 - 8:48 AM.

  • Kaelwizard, DDD101DDD, Fatatoille and 4 others like this

1 x Lasius niger -  https://www.formicul...-wegmier/page-6

1 x Lasius flavus - https://www.formicul...flavus-wegmier/

4 x Camponotus fedtschenkoi - https://www.formicul...-wegmier/page-2


#106 Offline ANTdrew - Posted April 28 2021 - 4:01 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 7,549 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA

Ouch. I can feel your pain. I think you may need to look into some high quality fluon and good lids for a colony this huge.


  • Kaelwizard and Wegmier like this
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#107 Offline Fatatoille - Posted April 28 2021 - 6:37 AM

Fatatoille

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 72 posts
  • LocationUK (England)
Lovely photos; callow queens are always so pretty. How many alates do you reckon will be in the colony by nuptial flight season?

Prawn and Mayo sandwiches taste nice.


#108 Offline NPLT - Posted April 28 2021 - 8:07 AM

NPLT

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 325 posts
  • LocationPiaseczno, Poland

This may be a stupid question, but are you going to somehow allow the alates to fly out into the wild?


Um, uh, Ants!

 

link to journal: https://www.formicul...lt-ant-journal/


#109 Offline Antcatcherpro3 - Posted April 28 2021 - 8:35 AM

Antcatcherpro3

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 633 posts
  • LocationBoston, MA

When you said 1000 or 2000 workers escaped to me that would of been more then my whole colony, but your colony is so big.


  • TacticalHandleGaming likes this

#110 Offline Antkeeper01 - Posted July 12 2021 - 5:35 AM

Antkeeper01

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,377 posts
  • LocationA random state in the US

update and in the next update can you take a pic of the queen


1X Pogonomyrmex occidentalis 40-50 Workers

1X Solenopsis molesta 10 Workers (mono)

Ants I Want: Crematogaster sp, Camponotus Sp., Ponera Pennsylvanica, Mymercocystus sp.

 

My Youtube channel: https://www.youtube....kUjx-dPFMyVqOLw

 

 Join Our Fledgling Discord Server https://discord.com/...089056687423489


#111 Offline DDD101DDD - Posted July 13 2021 - 8:40 AM

DDD101DDD

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 667 posts
  • LocationNew York

update?


  • Antkeeper01 and yibsi like this

He travels, he seeks the p a r m e s a n.


#112 Offline Wegmier - Posted July 17 2021 - 5:26 AM

Wegmier

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 95 posts
  • LocationThe Netherlands

Update 43: The end? (July 17 2021)

Bad news here. My colony has been stagnating and then shrinking, and I don't know why.

 

There are thousands of larvae but they have stopped to pupate for the last two months by unknown causes. It's as if they're in some sort of diapause. 

Here's all the facts:

1.) Halfway May, all alate brood has eclosed. There are about 400 new queens walking through the nests and outworld (No male reproductives were made)
2.) The colony keeps growing for a while, lots of worker pupae
3.) About 2 weeks later, the last pile of worker pupae ecloses and there are no pupae left. The thousands of larvae are not pupating, though the nest conditions are still the same. Maybe they are stagnating because workers have to care for hundreds of alates?

4.) Every few days I remove about a dozen winged queens from the outworld
5.) In the evening of June 4, the alates are acting crazy. They are frantically running in the outworld and attempting to fly. They are taking off and keep hitting the walls of the outworld. It's still a month early for nuptial flights in the wild, so it can't be outside pheromones that's getting them excited. (a short video of them flying: https://www.youtube....h?v=Y5l8-2XSu2c )

6.) A few days later there is a massive culling. All alates die/disappear overnight.
7.) I hoped they'd return to normal after the alates were gone, but there is no change in their behaviour. The larvae keep growing until they hit their pupation size, but won't spin cocoons. The queen is still physogastric and pumping out eggs.
8.) I'm trying to give them different conditions. More humidity, less humidity, warmer nests, warmer nests & more humidity, warmer nests & less humidity, more food. Nothing snaps them out of it.

9.) The nests are becoming noticeably more empty as the old generations of workers are dying off and no new workers are being produced to replace them.
10.) On June 28 I place them in my cool basement, hoping to give them a sort of mini-hibernation. I will take them out soon, but my hopes are low.

Does anyone have an idea what's going on?

This nest was once filled to the brim. Now it's a wasteland:
 
jDklHQn.jpg

The queen, still popping hundreds of eggs:
 
Kyjh2tc.jpg

The nests disconnected and stacked in the basement:

 

0QhQcLH.jpg


1 x Lasius niger -  https://www.formicul...-wegmier/page-6

1 x Lasius flavus - https://www.formicul...flavus-wegmier/

4 x Camponotus fedtschenkoi - https://www.formicul...-wegmier/page-2


#113 Offline futurebird - Posted July 17 2021 - 5:38 AM

futurebird

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 489 posts
  • LocationNew York City, NY

can you tell if the pupae are workers or could they be even more allates? Not that knowing that would answer it.

 

could you try giving a few pupae to another lasius colony to see if this is the fault of the workers? This also might be a bad idea because if this is a pathogen that would spread it. But you seem like the sort who might have a few lasius queens in test tubes and you could give one like five or six of the paused pupae.

 

That's all I can think of. this is very strange. following and hoping that you find the solution. This colony is glorious so I'm pulling for it to work out.

 

At least the queen is happy...


Starting this July I'm posting videos of my ants every week on youTube.

I like to make relaxing videos that capture the joy of watching ants.

If that sounds like your kind of thing... follow me >here<


#114 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 17 2021 - 6:34 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 7,549 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA
It’s very interesting you’ve posted this because I’ve seen a similar phenomenon in two other species of mine that just put out their first batches of alates, my Crematogaster and Nylanderia. In both colonies, growth has basically stopped. It’s even more pronounced in my Crematogaster colony, which has very little brood at the moment. I can only think it’s a natural phase of a colony’s development. My Pheidole just got their first queens, so I’ll be watching them to see if something similar happens. So few people get to this point that it’s sort of uncharted territory.
  • Wegmier and futurebird like this
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#115 Offline futurebird - Posted July 17 2021 - 6:57 AM

futurebird

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 489 posts
  • LocationNew York City, NY

I wonder how often in the wild colonies make it to having second waves of reproductives after the first? I wouldn't be shocked if there was a drop off. It'd make sense for the colony to pour everything into getting out that first wave, then, only if they are still in that ideal stable location, with great food sources and few competitors they could keep going for another wave. (does that make sense)

 

So, if this is "a thing" that happens with multiple species that would be how I'd explain it in terms of evolution. 

 

Get at least that first wave out. Get more if you can. 

 

It's only the rare queen that hits the jackpot of putting the nest in a location with water, food, climate, predation advantages. So few queens found at all, fewer still make it to this important milestone of reproducing. I bet there is another drop off in numbers for those ant colonies that last for years and reproduce over and over.

 

That said you are giving your ants perfect conditions. Basically unlimited food, the choicest temperatures and humidity. So, maybe they just need to recover. Like after a woman has a baby, is she going to be running around doing things?

 

Just my theory.


  • Wegmier likes this

Starting this July I'm posting videos of my ants every week on youTube.

I like to make relaxing videos that capture the joy of watching ants.

If that sounds like your kind of thing... follow me >here<


#116 Offline Polyacanthus - Posted July 17 2021 - 7:08 AM

Polyacanthus

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 153 posts
  • LocationMichigan, USA
I agree, probably a natural recovery stage. I thought I had read an article about an every-other-year cycle for producing alates in the wild.

Nice journal and beautiful nests, excellent job.

Edited by Polyacanthus, July 17 2021 - 7:09 AM.

  • futurebird likes this

#117 Offline Wegmier - Posted July 17 2021 - 7:25 AM

Wegmier

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 95 posts
  • LocationThe Netherlands

My own guess is that there's something very wrong with the colony's biological clock, because of the huge wave of alates early in the year

 

The colony started produced alates right out of hibernation in early March because of the abundance of food that I gave them. Whereas wild L. niger colonies here do not start producing alates until late May / early June. Maybe the workers & brood are acting like it's much later in the year than it actually is?

This colony had to maintain 400 alates for nearly 1,5 months, keeping the new queens' fat reserves up and keeping them fit, while wild colonies only have to care for their alates for 1-3 weeks tops? Because they produce them so close to the nuptial flights. I'm no expert so this is 100% an un-educated guess


  • Antkeeper01 and futurebird like this

1 x Lasius niger -  https://www.formicul...-wegmier/page-6

1 x Lasius flavus - https://www.formicul...flavus-wegmier/

4 x Camponotus fedtschenkoi - https://www.formicul...-wegmier/page-2





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users