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Cheeto's Myrmecocystus mimicus (Updated 8/4)


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#1 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted September 4 2020 - 11:31 AM

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A few weeks ago I received this M. mimicus queen from a buddy in Tucson. At the time she already had a good batch of eggs, but she would actually go on to eat most of them when I added sand to the test tube.

 
IMG 20200804 180950968

 

 

Despite the bit of cannibalism it caused, the addition of sand was definitely the right move. She quickly laid many more eggs right afterwards, and from there I left her totally in the dark for around 3 weeks. I did peek at her every once in a while, but not enough to really do anything other than make sure she was still alive. After a while, though, I decided to check on her brood, and boy did she have a lot, including her first pupa!
 

IMG 20200826 105710771
IMG 20200826 105722384
 
 

I'm pretty sure in that pic she had 1 pupa, 16-17 larvae, and over 20 eggs. For a founding queen, that's pretty impressive. I've only seen Pheidole and Solenopsis do that well.

Another week and a half or so from when she got her first pupa, she followed up with 10 more, meaning she has a total of 11 pupae as of right now. The first one should hopefully eclose within a week or two, with the rest following suit. I don't see anymore large larvae, so it's safe to assume that (if she lasts that long) she'll be getting 11 nanitics. I've got a mini hearth XL prepped for when all 11 eclose, and will be moving them into it at that point.
 

IMG 20200904 121951090

Edited by CheetoLord02, August 4 2021 - 10:49 AM.

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#2 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 4 2020 - 12:16 PM

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Amazing. You’re crushing it with the desert ants.
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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.

#3 Offline TechAnt - Posted September 4 2020 - 1:21 PM

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Will be following this! I think this queen is a good one!
My Ants:
(x1) Campontous semitstaceus ~20 workers, 1 Queen
(x1) Camponotus vicinus ~10 workers, 1 Queen (all black variety)
(x1) Tetramorium immigrans ~100 workers, 1 Queen
(x1) Myrmercocystus mexicanus -1 Queen
(x2) Mymercocystus mimcus -1 Queen
(x1) Mymercocystus testaceus ~45 workers, 1 Queen

#4 Offline B_rad0806 - Posted September 4 2020 - 1:43 PM

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I recommend not checking on them for the rest of the month. Myrmecocystus is one of the most sensitive species and will eat the eggs. 


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#5 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted September 4 2020 - 3:01 PM

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I recommend not checking on them for the rest of the month. Myrmecocystus is one of the most sensitive species and will eat the eggs. 

Uhh, how long do you think Myrmecocystus pupae take to eclose? She's already had pupae for well over a week, if I waited until the end of the month all 11 pupae will have eclosed and they likely will have starved to death. I'll be surprised if she doesn't have her first worker by next weekend, in all honesty.


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#6 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted September 4 2020 - 7:13 PM

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It wouldn't surprise me if she didn't get that first nanitic in 3 or 4 days... 5 weeks seems about average time from egg to worker.
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#7 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted September 9 2020 - 10:59 PM

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LET'S GOOOOOOOOOOOOO
 

IMG 20200909 234641313


After only around 5 and a half weeks, this lovely lady has her very first worker. She continues to blow my mind, as there are an additional 12 pupae still waiting to eclose. I don't think I've EVER had a queen get 13 nanitics, let alone my one and only Myrmecocystus queen.
 

IMG 20200909 235220935 HDR

 

 

I offered a decent sized drop of honey, and the queen was practically magnetized towards it. She instantly went to town on it, and for good reason. Raising 13 nanitics definitely seems like hard work.
 

IMG 20200909 235215501 HDR


Once this first batch of workers ecloses, I'll be moving them into a Mini Hearth XL that I have designated for them. I can't wait until that day comes, and when I'll finally start seeing repletes. Either way, my hopes for this colony are through the roof, so here's hoping everything goes as well as it seems!


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#8 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 10 2020 - 2:54 AM

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Awesome, dude!
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#9 Offline TechAnt - Posted September 10 2020 - 7:39 AM

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Great!


Edited by TechAnt, September 10 2020 - 8:02 AM.

My Ants:
(x1) Campontous semitstaceus ~20 workers, 1 Queen
(x1) Camponotus vicinus ~10 workers, 1 Queen (all black variety)
(x1) Tetramorium immigrans ~100 workers, 1 Queen
(x1) Myrmercocystus mexicanus -1 Queen
(x2) Mymercocystus mimcus -1 Queen
(x1) Mymercocystus testaceus ~45 workers, 1 Queen

#10 Offline TheAntGuy - Posted September 10 2020 - 10:00 AM

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Hey, just some tips.
1: that drop of honey seems big, might be a good idea to try and not feed so much at once, as I can't count how many times I have had workers and sometimes queens drown in a single drop of liquid.
2: a mini hearth xl is fine, but if I were you, I would wait until at least 20 workers. They should have that many by the second generation. The reason being is that I think that when they are that small, the stress can be too much from moving. I moved my Myrmecocystus mimicus queen into a regular mini hearth at 11 workers or so last year, and she ate all her brood and most of her workers died until eventually it was a queen 1 worker, and no brood. I gave her to a friend and I think he said she didn't make it. Somewhat anecdotal but I wouldn't risk it if you want them to do well. What you can do is get them into a tubs and tubes setup to make feeding easier until they get more workers.

Hope they do well! Best of luck!

*also please excuse formatting, I am on mobile right now
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#11 Offline B_rad0806 - Posted September 10 2020 - 10:02 AM

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Real nice!


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#12 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted September 14 2020 - 8:45 PM

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As of today, we're up to 5 workers, and I just now noticed them taking in protein for the first time! The queen is nice and fat from the honey I offered them at first, and their second generation of brood seems to be coming along nicely. They've been getting workers at a rate of about 1 per day at this point, so hopefully by next week all 13 nanitics will have eclosed. The second generation does seem to be smaller than the first, although this isn't all that surprising. The queen also seems to have laid a nice new batch of eggs. Pics (and maybe a video) of the whole colony to come, but for now I got a picture of one of the workers chowing down on a piece of mealworm I had offered:
 

IMG 20200914 211130930 HDR

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#13 Offline TechAnt - Posted September 14 2020 - 9:01 PM

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Nice!


My Ants:
(x1) Campontous semitstaceus ~20 workers, 1 Queen
(x1) Camponotus vicinus ~10 workers, 1 Queen (all black variety)
(x1) Tetramorium immigrans ~100 workers, 1 Queen
(x1) Myrmercocystus mexicanus -1 Queen
(x2) Mymercocystus mimcus -1 Queen
(x1) Mymercocystus testaceus ~45 workers, 1 Queen

#14 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted September 16 2020 - 12:15 AM

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We're now up to 8 workers (one is hiding by the queen's gaster in the pic), and now there are 8 pupae, meaning 3 more larvae have pupated in the 2nd generation. This colony is doing absolutely fantastic, the workers are active and they're eating, and they seem to be relatively undisturbed by most things. Not sure if that's a bad omen or something, but I'll take what I can get. I'm really looking forward to moving this colony into the mini hearth XL that I have prepared for them. I'll probably hook it up to the setup relatively soon, and just let the colony move on their own time.
 

IMG 20200916 005624386

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#15 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted September 28 2020 - 12:39 AM

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It's been a while since this journal has been updated, but not to worry! The colony is still doing perfectly well!

As of around a week ago, I did go ahead and move them into the Mini Hearth XL that I had set aside for them. They got settled in nicely, and have been doing pretty well ever since. They are eating plenty of protein, if not maybe too much, as they actually ended up developing a male alate larva that you can see behind the queen here:
 

IMG 20200928 005036166


Despite that, the 2nd generation of workers have now pupated, and the third generation is well on their way. Hopefully once new workers start eclosing again I'll start seeing repletes. I do have a ByFormica liquid feeder in their outworld for sugars, but so far they don't seem interested in making repletes. Either way I'm not really concerned just yet, as the colony is still small.
 

IMG 20200928 005045745


As for that male larva.... I really didn't want this colony to end up producing males, as all they would do is sit in the nest and eat up resources. Therefore I had another idea...
 

IMG 20200928 005733980


The Neivamyrmex enjoyed their snack.

To finish off this update, here's a quick video of the colony. I love watching their larvae move while eating, they're so animated! The only other species I've kept with larvae that active are Novomessor, from my experience. You can also see the colony is doing well overall, with a good amount of brood of all stages.


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#16 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 28 2020 - 2:30 AM

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RIP Male alate 2020-2020
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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.

#17 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted October 8 2020 - 4:10 AM

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Update 10/8

This colony is still doing really well! They definitely don't seem to be the fastest growers ever, but they're still doing great nonetheless. They actually just started working on their first replete, although for now at least they didn't fill her up too much. I'm not sure why they didn't just commit to filling her more, but this way she is still usable for doing work in the nest, which is probably important for such a small colony.
 

IMG 20201007 041206395
IMG 20201007 042338435
IMG 20201007 042435927

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#18 Offline TechAnt - Posted October 21 2020 - 11:44 AM

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Update?


My Ants:
(x1) Campontous semitstaceus ~20 workers, 1 Queen
(x1) Camponotus vicinus ~10 workers, 1 Queen (all black variety)
(x1) Tetramorium immigrans ~100 workers, 1 Queen
(x1) Myrmercocystus mexicanus -1 Queen
(x2) Mymercocystus mimcus -1 Queen
(x1) Mymercocystus testaceus ~45 workers, 1 Queen

#19 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted November 29 2020 - 2:46 AM

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Update 11/29

Fear not Formiculture, this colony is still going strong. Unfortunately they just really aren't the most exciting ants ever, and even with it being ~50 days since the last update, not a whole lot has changed. Everybody's still doing fine, they've got a few half-repletes, and some nice brood. Not too much else to say.
 

IMG 20201129 021852350 HDR


As of right now, this is their largest replete. Not exactly sure why they seem to not want to fill the repletes more, but whatever. The ants are gonna do whatever they see fit.
 

IMG 20201129 021902109

 

 

They do have a decent amount of brood, but not much younger stuff. I bet the queen's just a little bit off from laying the next batch of eggs.
 

IMG 20201129 021923973

 

 

I did go ahead and order an Atrium from the Tarheel Ants black friday sale, and that will be their next nest for when they outgrow this mini hearth... eventually. I'm hoping the Atrium will last them a while, since I've heard that moving them is a huge pain. Even going from their test tube to this mini hearth was a bit of an ordeal.


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#20 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted January 3 2021 - 11:45 AM

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This colony finally got their first true replete! I think the trick is to offer them a good source of fresh water as well as their concentrated sugars. I just gave mine a liquid feeder with some tap water and they drank it up hastily, and it seemed to contribute to this replete filling up so much.
 

IMG 20210103 121135172

 

 

They also still have a number of smaller repletes.
 

IMG 20210103 121145210

 

 

Unfortunately they don't have very much brood at all, only 3 pupae, a few larvae, and a small batch of eggs. I'll be trying to feed them more to try and get that brood production up.


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