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Cheeto's Phantastic Pheidole (Updated 5/8)


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#1 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted August 24 2020 - 8:46 AM

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This is it. A mega journal where I'll be talking about all of my Pheidole. And oh boy, there's a lot. This first post will be basically an introduction to every colony/queen, and future posts will act as updates for each.

Pheidole bicarinata
I got this colony with around 20 workers this April, and they've since exploded to have probably around 800-1000. It's hard to tell for sure, as they're in a bifuricated mini hearth (already meh visibility) and they've absolutely trashed it. Either way, they've got a great feeding response and are overall still a very solid colony.

 

bic
bic nest
 
 

Pheidole micula

This colony is easily my favorite. I got them this March, when I found the queen under a rock with her nanitics and a good amount of brood. They are an absolutely tiny species, with the queen coming in at only ~4mm, and yet they manage to best even my bicarinata in growth rate. Their feeding response is unparalleled, and they are incredibly easy to keep. I was expecting them to cap at around 600-1000 workers based on the size of the queen, but they have absolutely smashed that number with no signs of stopping. I was planning on their THA Inception Chamber being their nest for life, but they are looking like they actually may need an upgrade. The pictures shown were taken just under 10 weeks apart:
 

micula
micula but big
 
 

And here's a video of them eating some termite alates. Their feeding response still absolutely blows my mind.

 

 

Pheidole pilifera

 

The classic cool Pheidole species, and they definitely live up to it. I got this colony in April of this year with around 30 workers and 1 major. They are definitely the slowest growing Pheidole that I've kept, but it's still a very respectable rate. They now have easily a few dozen workers and around a dozen majors, with more eclosing all the time. This colony should hopefully begin to really take off soon.

 

pilifera
chonk
 
 

Pheidole gilvescens furtiva

 

Another very tiny species of Pheidole, with the queens being just marginally larger than my P. micula. I currently have 4 dealates and a few more alates that I got at my blacklight. So far they seem very promising, with most of the current dealates shedding their wings within just minutes of capture. These are still all just founding queens, but hopefully due to their small size they'll get workers relatively quickly.

 

gilvescens
 
 

Pheidole vistana perpilosa

A very large species of Pheidole, with the queens being around 8-9mm. Mine is a bit on the smaller size, but still very good. I caught her while she was mating at my blacklight, so I've got high hopes. So far she's got a nice batch of eggs going.
 

vistana
 
 

Pheidole hyatti

 

Another large orange Pheidole, and a sister species of P. vistana. I caught 9 of these queens at my blacklight one morning, but only two have shed wings and show signs of fertility, as both flew to the blacklight while mating. I let a buddy who had accompanied me that morning keep one, and I have the other fertile one. So far she also has a very nice pile of eggs.
 

hyatti
 
 

Pheidole vallicola

Currently I have several dealates of this species that were all caught on different nights. They seem relatively unassuming, being just another ~5mm Pheidole, although their black coloration does interest me, as most of the Pheidole that I've been catching are orange. I'll definitely be interested in their progression past founding.
 

vallicola
 
 

Pheidole cerebrosior spadonia

I had originally caught a dealate queen of this species on a trip to Tucson, however she died within just a few hours of capture. I was glad though to have found yet another dealate on my second trip to the area. This species seems fairly interesting, with the queen being pretty stocky overall.
 

cerebrosior
 
 

Pheidole obtusospinosa

Easily the coolest species on this list. Not only is the queen 1cm long, but these guys are also trimorphic, meaning someday I'll be seeing real, actual supermajors. Currently the colony is quite small, with around 20 workers and 1 major, however once I start feeding them more they should take off pretty good. Their test tube is pretty scuffed, so expect pics later down the line once I get them into a nest. Here's a pic of the queen when she was founding, for now.
 

obtuso
 
 

Pheidole xerophila

 

This is easily the prettiest species on this list. The queens are around 7mm and absolutely gorgeous. This was the first species to have flights in my area, so 3 of 4 dealates that I collected have larvae at this point. I'm very excited to see how these guys end up developing. Antwiki says that this species has tiny colonies, with only around 300 minors and 30-40 majors, however I am positive I saw much larger colonies than that when they were flying. Each colony had 5 or more nest entrances and they made huge landing pads, so I'd estimate the wild colonies had at least 1000-2000 workers, as there were quite literally more than 300 at the surface during their flights. I suppose I'll just need to wait and see how my colonies turn out.
 

xero
 
 

Pheidole sp.

A small, unidentified queen of mine. I have no idea what species she is, just that she's around 4.5mm and has a nice pile of eggs. I have no idea what to expect from her, so she should be pretty interesting to see develop.
 

ye
 
 

I'm... honestly not sure if this is even every species I have. I hope I'm not forgetting anyone. Either way, I'll be sure to update this journal a bunch, especially once my new queens start getting workers.


Edited by CheetoLord02, May 8 2021 - 11:33 AM.

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#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 24 2020 - 8:55 AM

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Phantastic!

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#3 Offline NickAnter - Posted August 24 2020 - 8:56 AM

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That giant Pheidole looks a bit like rhea to me.


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Species being kept:

 

Solenopsis truncorum, Solenopsis "plebeius", Solenopsis validiuscula, Solenopsis sp., Solenopsis xyloni, Solenopsis amblychila, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Pheidole navigans, Nylanderia vividula, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Temnothorax rudis, Temnothorax cf. nitens, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Strumigenys membranifera

 

People are stupid. It explains a lot...


#4 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted August 24 2020 - 9:00 AM

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That giant Pheidole looks a bit like rhea to me.

Dude, I wish, but she's about 7mm too small. Typically P. obtusospinosa are orange, but the region I was in had a black variant for whatever reason. It's possible it's a different species, but I highly doubt it. Morphologically they are identical to P. obtusospinosa, they're just black for some reason.



#5 Offline NickAnter - Posted August 24 2020 - 9:01 AM

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That giant Pheidole looks a bit like rhea to me.

Dude, I wish, but she's about 7mm too small. Typically P. obtusospinosa are orange, but the region I was in had a black variant for whatever reason. It's possible it's a different species, but I highly doubt it. Morphologically they are identical to P. obtusospinosa, they're just black for some reason.

 

Oh okay. I thought you said she was 1cm long though lol.


Species being kept:

 

Solenopsis truncorum, Solenopsis "plebeius", Solenopsis validiuscula, Solenopsis sp., Solenopsis xyloni, Solenopsis amblychila, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Pheidole navigans, Nylanderia vividula, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Temnothorax rudis, Temnothorax cf. nitens, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Strumigenys membranifera

 

People are stupid. It explains a lot...


#6 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted August 24 2020 - 9:03 AM

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That giant Pheidole looks a bit like rhea to me.

Dude, I wish, but she's about 7mm too small. Typically P. obtusospinosa are orange, but the region I was in had a black variant for whatever reason. It's possible it's a different species, but I highly doubt it. Morphologically they are identical to P. obtusospinosa, they're just black for some reason.

 

Oh okay. I thought you said she was 1cm long though lol.

 

She... is. Pheidole rhea queens are typically between 16 and 18mm.


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#7 Offline NickAnter - Posted August 24 2020 - 9:04 AM

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That giant Pheidole looks a bit like rhea to me.

Dude, I wish, but she's about 7mm too small. Typically P. obtusospinosa are orange, but the region I was in had a black variant for whatever reason. It's possible it's a different species, but I highly doubt it. Morphologically they are identical to P. obtusospinosa, they're just black for some reason.

 

Oh okay. I thought you said she was 1cm long though lol.

 

She... is. Pheidole rhea queens are typically between 16 and 18mm.

 

Oh okay. I read your post way wrong. I thought you said she was 7mm, and lacked a comma. Sorry for temporarily hijacking your thread.


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Species being kept:

 

Solenopsis truncorum, Solenopsis "plebeius", Solenopsis validiuscula, Solenopsis sp., Solenopsis xyloni, Solenopsis amblychila, Camponotus vicinus, Camponotus maritimus, Formica cf. subaenescens, Formica cf. aerata, Lasius cf. americanus, Lasius aphidicola, Lasius brevicornis, Lasius nr claviger, Pheidole navigans, Nylanderia vividula, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Temnothorax rudis, Temnothorax cf. nitens, Pogonomyrmex californicus, and Strumigenys membranifera

 

People are stupid. It explains a lot...


#8 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted August 24 2020 - 9:33 AM

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You have quite the Pheidole collection!


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#9 Offline Spazmops - Posted August 24 2020 - 9:43 AM

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How does one find pheidole? I’d like to have one, but I’ve never seen a queen. We have a lot of species out here too.


Co-owner and founder of Mountain Myrmeculture and The Menagerie Discord Server

Ants I have:

1 Formica fusca group- 0 workers

1 Tetramorium immigrans colony-20 workers

1 Dorymyrmex insanus- 1 queen, used to have workers

 

1 large P. occidentalis colony- around 50 workers, plenty of brood

 

 


#10 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted August 24 2020 - 9:49 AM

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How does one find pheidole? I’d like to have one, but I’ve never seen a queen. We have a lot of species out here too.

Well, honestly, being in Arizona is kinda cheating. They're literally everywhere here. If I don't get at least 3 species of Pheidole at my blacklight, it's basically a failed session, lol.


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#11 Offline CatsnAnts - Posted August 24 2020 - 9:53 AM

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Woah.

Spoiler

#12 Offline Spazmops - Posted August 24 2020 - 10:00 AM

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How does one find pheidole? I’d like to have one, but I’ve never seen a queen. We have a lot of species out here too.

Well, honestly, being in Arizona is kinda cheating. They're literally everywhere here. If I don't get at least 3 species of Pheidole at my blacklight, it's basically a failed session, lol.

 

Is blacklighting the best method, or would going out during the day be a good way to find them as well?


Co-owner and founder of Mountain Myrmeculture and The Menagerie Discord Server

Ants I have:

1 Formica fusca group- 0 workers

1 Tetramorium immigrans colony-20 workers

1 Dorymyrmex insanus- 1 queen, used to have workers

 

1 large P. occidentalis colony- around 50 workers, plenty of brood

 

 


#13 Offline AntsDakota - Posted August 24 2020 - 10:03 AM

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How does one find pheidole? I’d like to have one, but I’ve never seen a queen. We have a lot of species out here too.

Well, honestly, being in Arizona is kinda cheating. They're literally everywhere here. If I don't get at least 3 species of Pheidole at my blacklight, it's basically a failed session, lol.

 

When I've been to the Phoenix area, all I saw were Dorymyrmex bicolor and Brachymyrmex patagonicus. I'm assuming you found these in rural areas?


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#14 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted August 24 2020 - 10:31 AM

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When I've been to the Phoenix area, all I saw were Dorymyrmex bicolor and Brachymyrmex patagonicus. I'm assuming you found these in rural areas?

Yes and no. The P. xerophila, pilifera, unidentified sp, vistana, and obtusospinosa were all basically from the middle of nowhere, but the rest were all found at parks or preserves and whatnot.

 

 

 

How does one find pheidole? I’d like to have one, but I’ve never seen a queen. We have a lot of species out here too.

Well, honestly, being in Arizona is kinda cheating. They're literally everywhere here. If I don't get at least 3 species of Pheidole at my blacklight, it's basically a failed session, lol.

 

Is blacklighting the best method, or would going out during the day be a good way to find them as well?

 

Yeah, pretty much. Only ~5 of the total queens in my collection were found wandering, and 4 of those were P. xerophila. Blacklighting can suck because a lot of times you get mostly infertile queens, but you'll also catch more fertile queens than you would just walking around. It's definitely a bit of a tossup but it's mostly worth it to blacklight.


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#15 Offline Spazmops - Posted August 24 2020 - 11:01 AM

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Thanks! I’ll break out the old black light for a few days and see what I catch.


Co-owner and founder of Mountain Myrmeculture and The Menagerie Discord Server

Ants I have:

1 Formica fusca group- 0 workers

1 Tetramorium immigrans colony-20 workers

1 Dorymyrmex insanus- 1 queen, used to have workers

 

1 large P. occidentalis colony- around 50 workers, plenty of brood

 

 


#16 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted August 24 2020 - 5:36 PM

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Dang, you really have a lot of pheidole colonies... Are they the only genus you keep??
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#17 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted August 24 2020 - 8:24 PM

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Dang, you really have a lot of pheidole colonies... Are they the only genus you keep??

hahahaha, not even close. I currently have around 60 species total in my collection.


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#18 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted August 26 2020 - 11:20 PM

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Not a super important update here, but more just one for fun. I fed most of my colonies some crickets for the first time in a while yesterday, and both my P. micula and pilifera had some pretty interesting responses to it.

While actually eating, my pilifera actually sent a pair of majors out of the nest to help tear up the food. This is a pretty cool sight, as P. pilifera majors known to hardly ever leave the nest at all. 




Another cool sight was the day after feeding, my Pheidole micula queen got more physogastric than I had ever seen from her before. This colony would seriously eat me if they were any larger.



I'm considering giving them a Fallen Fortress from THA as an upgrade, although I was planning on saving it for my P. obtusospinosa. In the meantime I do have another Inception Chamber on the way for that colony, but they'll inevitably outgrow it very quickly, which is when I was planning on using the Fallen Fortress. I'm pretty indecisive about this stuff, so comment on what you think I should do I suppose.
 


Edited by CheetoLord02, August 26 2020 - 11:20 PM.

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#19 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 27 2020 - 2:24 AM

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I hope to order some inception chambers once I get paid on Monday. I hope they don’t take too long to arrive because I have some fast hrowing colonies at the moment.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#20 Offline Antkid12 - Posted August 27 2020 - 3:38 AM

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Oh man, I just noticed this journal. You have some Awesome Pheidole species!


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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

 

                    

                   

 

 





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