Update #15: Four Colonies (October 8 2021)
Didn't realize it had been so long since the last update!
The colonies are doing fine. I actually received two more colonies recently
This journal will now follow the progress of 4 different colonies of Camponotus fedtschenkoi
[ Population: ~2.000 ]
Colony A has been doing well. Development stagnated when I went on a 2 week vacation, but since then the broodpile has exploded again. I have no idea how many workers they have. 2,000 would be a rough guess
Hooked up a third small nest and a larger outworld. Will start looking for a bigger nest.
The colony went through a die-off when I fed them 2.5% Urea-water last week. About 300 small workers perished. All the larger workers seem to be doing fine.
I have no idea why the urea killed so many ants this time, but people say die-offs are common when feeding it. Maybe water evaporated and the % become too high? I might just hold off from feeding urea
The queen seems to go physogastric occasionally:There are 100 to 300 workers in the outworld constantly. The entrance is always well defended:Death after urea feeding:In their second nest, they chewed through the thinnest wall of the water reservoir... Had a few escapees before I could plug it. This nest can't be watered anymore. A valuable lesson, these girls will chew through Ytong if it's slightly scuffed:Workers tending to brood:
Replete majors:Bottom major performing trophollaxis:
The current set-up:
[ Population: ~80 ]
Colony B, the original "back-up" colony is doing great. I gave them another broodboost from the main colony.
In early September they were moved into a small Ytong nest. They are now producing an impressive amount of brood all of their own.
They have around 80 workers and over a hundred pupae & larvae in various stages
The colony right before moving into their new nest:Attached the test tube straight to the nest so they wouldn't take days to move in. Exploring the new nest:The colony likes to stick to the left side of the nest, that's where the heating cable is:
[ Population: 10 ]
I purchased colony C thinking that this would finally be Camponotus turkestanus - another yellow-colored tanaemyrmex from the same region as C. fedtschenkoi that I really wanted to acquire. The two species get infamously mixed up with each other all the time. The queen was advertised as such: https://imgur.com/1sTQufj
This is the queen that was received:
Shortly after they arrived, they escaped. I had forgotten to plug a hole in their small outworld. Apparently the test tube wasn't good enough for them and wanderlust had them leave the set-up.
Thankfully they didn't vanish - instead they moved into the water reservoir of the nearby Lasius flavus nest!
I frequently saw workers of the escaped colony walking over the desk, foraging for food. I left sugarwater and fruitflies laying around which they occasionally accepted:
This past month I've been trying to get them out of this nest without any luck. I stopped watering the nest and placed a fresh, moist test tube nearby. But they refuse to leave. The nest itself has become so dry that even the Lasius flavus moved out - the fedtschenkois don't seem to care care. They even started rearing brood inside there.
Today I finally decided to just detach the flavus nest from the outworld (all L. flavus have moved into test tubes in their outworld) and place it in a sealed container. No risk of them vanishing now. Hopefully they move out sometime soon...
[ Population: 5 ]
I bought colony D off of another Dutch antkeeper.
This queen stands out from every other C. fedtschenkoi queen that I've seen. She has a brown-reddish head & thorax instead of the pitch-black head & thorax that queens of this species normally have.
The colony arrived on September 28 with five workers.
Despite the very different coloring, the hairs on her head and legs all indicate that she must C. fedtschenkoi. Maybe this is just a less common phenotype that occasionally pops up? No idea
I plan on brood-boosting this colony to the point where they start producing majors. It'll be interesting to see if the majors come out reddish like the queen as well
Picture by the previous owner:
Edited by Wegmier, October 8 2021 - 12:13 PM.