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AU's Ant Keeping Journal


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#1 Offline AntsUtah - Posted January 4 2021 - 6:19 PM

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Ants Utah's Ant Keeping Journal

 

Species keeping as of 9/12/2021:

 

Aphaenogaster occidentalis

Camponotus vicinus
Camponotus hyatti
Crematogaster emeryans (colonies 1 and 3)
Crematogaster mormonum (sp. 1 and 2)
Formica fusca group (formica 2)
Formica sp.
Formica subsericia group (colony 1)
Lasius americanus (soon)
Lasius brevicornis (soon)
Lasius creightoni (soon)
Lasius neoniger
Pheidole bicarinata (soon)
Pheidole ceres (soon)
Pogonomymex occidentalis
Tapinoma sessile
Temnothorax nevadensis
Tetramorium immigrans

 

 

I'm going to make a journal for all my colonies and a few queens, I'll start off with one of my largest:

 

I captured this colony about a year ago in a dead log. They had 13 workers and lots of larvae, the eggs and pupae eluded me unfortunately. This colony may have had multiple queens or been polydomous even with it's small numbers. The last time I checked the spot I captured them, workers were still foraging. I know its not common for multi-queen Temnothorax colony's to occur in the wild but those foragers and the missing pupea/eggs (where the queen usually resides), deep under ground made me suspicious.  Since capture they had about 50 larvae they had a population boom this last summer and have a large number of small larvae for next year. These ants grow very slowly (1.5 months) and they love any heat applied to them. I'm going to try heating them regularly in the summer. This colony also has pretty good eyesight and they are comparatively large to other temnothorax species. They eat mainly grubs such as mealworms among other things. Its fascinating to watch them eat because they bore small holes into the exoskeleton of the grub and hollow it out with multiple workers working at once inside it. 

Right now this colony is in hibernation and I plan to keep them this way for at least 2 months. I will update when I take them out and feed them.

 

*This was the first wood formicarium I'd ever made and I made it in a hurry so that's why it looks like a piece of trash, at least they seem to like it...

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Edited by AntsUtah, September 12 2021 - 4:01 PM.

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Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

My Formicariums

My Multi-Species Journal


#2 Offline ZTYguy - Posted January 4 2021 - 6:22 PM

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Currently Keeping:A. versicolor, Aphaenogaster sp., C. vicinus, C. us-ca02, Crematogaster sp., Myrmecocystus mimicus, Myrmecocystus mexicanus , P. rugosus, P. subnitidus, Solenopsis molesta, Veromessor andrei.
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#3 Offline NickAnter - Posted January 4 2021 - 6:28 PM

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Can you get a close up picture of the queen?? Might be able to help with an ID.


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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 TennesseeAnts - Posted January 4 2021 - 6:28 PM

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Polygyne Temnothorax colonies are actually very common. T. curvispinosus are even capable of merging their colonies.



#5 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted January 4 2021 - 6:30 PM

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Can you get a close up picture of the queen?? Might be able to help with an ID.

Yeah, that would help a lot.



#6 Offline AntsUtah - Posted January 4 2021 - 6:31 PM

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Polygyne Temnothorax colonies are actually very common. T. curvispinosus are even capable of merging their colonies.

Interesting, I didn't know that. I'll have to check that spot again I guess.

Can you get a close up picture of the queen?? Might be able to help with an ID.

I'm going to try to find a macro lens for better pictures, I'm using an old iphone 7 for these. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

My Formicariums

My Multi-Species Journal


#7 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted January 4 2021 - 6:33 PM

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Polygyne Temnothorax colonies are actually very common. T. curvispinosus are even capable of merging their colonies.

Interesting, I didn't know that. I'll have to check that spot again I guess.

Can you get a close up picture of the queen?? Might be able to help with an ID.

I'm going to try to find a macro lens for better pictures, I'm using an old iphone 7 for these. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Lots of light, not too much zoom, and hold the phone about 2.5-3 inches away from the specimens.



#8 Offline AntsUtah - Posted January 4 2021 - 7:11 PM

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I was looking closer and I found at least 3 extra large larvae! Possibly reproductives? The queen and workers body's are strikingly similar to T. Longispinosus, but they are much redder/browner in color and don't have very pronounced spines at the end of their thorax.


Edited by AntsUtah, January 4 2021 - 7:12 PM.

Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

My Formicariums

My Multi-Species Journal


#9 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted January 4 2021 - 7:17 PM

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I was looking closer and I found at least 3 extra large larvae! Possibly reproductives? The queen and workers body's are strikingly similar to T. Longispinosus, but they are much redder/browner in color and don't have very pronounced spines at the end of their thorax.

T. longispinosus was named for their long propodeal spines, so you can rule them out. Can't really do much else without better pics, unfortunately. 



#10 Offline AntsUtah - Posted February 1 2021 - 7:33 PM

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I have more downtime these days and I'm going to start journaling my other species and colonies. Does anyone know how to change the title? Preferably to  "AU's Ant Keeping Journal".  Thanks for any help.


Edited by AntsUtah, February 1 2021 - 7:43 PM.

Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

My Formicariums

My Multi-Species Journal


#11 Offline NickAnter - Posted February 1 2021 - 8:08 PM

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Click, "edit" on the first post, and then, "full editor". If on mobile, the last step is not necessary.


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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...


#12 Offline AntsUtah - Posted February 12 2021 - 2:36 PM

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Update #1

 

Colonies In Hibernation:

 

  • Formica cf. Rufa: 4 workers, this queen was caught in july/june, but due to bad chemicals and silica from unwashed firebrick formicariums, all the brood and 5 workers died. They are now in a plaster and sand nest.
  • Temnothorax: (above)
  • Camponotus cf. Modoc Queen
  • Camponotus Hyatti (x2) Both of these colonies doing great with thirteen workers and larvae. 
  • Formica Fusca: Queen

Colonies out of Hibernation:

 

  • Tetramorium Immigrans: 4 workers. This colony was the last of my tetra stock. I sold all the other (9) colonies which were much larger. They were sold to mainly novices though, so these girls were probably the lucky survivors.
  • Crematogaster cf. cerasi: 4 workers, lots of larvae, late start due to the same problem with the Formica, the unwashed firebrick formicariums. 
  • 1 Queen, had a great last year with about 11 nanitics, then they all died too... you guessed it firebrick! Queen still living though, so not a complete loss.
  • Lasius queen

Looking forward to more updates, now that I know that firebrick is toxic when unwashed, I'm looking forward to some large colonies this year. I'll try to update every couple weeks or so.

 

-thanks


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Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

My Formicariums

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#13 Offline AntsUtah - Posted February 28 2021 - 5:20 PM

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Can anyone ID this species of Temnothorax? I finally got a suitable microscope. Head and thorax is red, abdomen is a darkish brown. Workers 2mm-4mm, queen around 6 or 7 mm. To keep the live worker on the slide I used a small circle of olive oil to keep it in one spot which worked surprisingly well for ants that can walk over Vaseline. 

 

A minor update 2/28/2021:

All the colonies are out of hibernation except for the Formica and unidentified Camponotus colonies. All my queens except for the Formica rufa have larvae! Looking forward to the next few months

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Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

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#14 Offline AntsUtah - Posted March 12 2021 - 7:27 PM

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Update #3: 3/12/21

 

All of the colonies are out of hibernation and growing nicely, this week I'm going to focus on my Temnothorax colony and my Camponotus.

 

Camponotus Modoc Queen: A nice batch of about 10 small larvae and one large,

Camponotus Hyatti: 12 workers and about 15 larvae, moved into a fresh test-tube recently.

Unidentified Camponotus Colony: Similar to the Hyatti colony, but the queen is smaller and they grow faster and fly later in the season. Have 12 workers and about 15 larvae and also moved into a new tube yesterday. They are third and second to last picture, any help identifying them would be nice.

Temnothorax Nevadensis: This colony looks like they are going to jump in population this year. The formicarium is covered in larvae and small eggs. Last I counted they were at 150 workers, with more than that in larvae. Does anyone else have a large temnothorax colony on this forum?, I'd love to hear about it

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Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

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#15 Offline AntsUtah - Posted March 21 2021 - 5:34 PM

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Update #4:

 

Here's a quick update on my small colonies of Formica and Crematogaster:

 

Formica rufa: I moved these girls into a new mini hearth recently, after waiting for them do do it for quite a while. They have 4 workers, and a nice pile of larvae.

Formica Fusca: Single Queen, recently laid a batch of eggs as soon as I warmed her tube up, this is my first fusca queen, so I'm hoping she makes it.

Crematogaster cerasiI fixed their formicarium this week with some perfect cast and hot glue, far from perfect but it'll hold them. The plaster had been degrading from the inside from water, just goes to show that you shouldn't put plaster in direct contact with water if you want it to last more then a couple of months. They have 3 workers, soon to be 8 or 9 with the new pupae.

The single queen I also have is doing fine, she's about to have her 1st second generation worker  :)

Lasius neoniger: This queen has 1 fat larvae, and a pile of eggs. She's in a genesis test tube setup, and it works great and I like the idea of it, but it is hard to constantly close the gap between the insert and the cotton as the cotton retreats farther into the tube. I stopped pushing it, and now the queen lives in the gap  :rolleyes:

 

Attached Files


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Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

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#16 Offline AntsUtah - Posted March 26 2021 - 6:34 PM

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Update #5:  We got Pupae!!!

 

Temnothorax Nevadensis: Most of the larvae have pupated and formed large piles of larger Temnothorax workers. The queen has a nice pile of about 50 eggs under her, I can already tell this year is going to be a good one! I feed them a full cricket and/or mealworm every 2 days, and they have a constant supply to honey water and a water test-tube. 

Camponotus Hyatti Colonie #1 and 2: Most of the larvae have reached there maximum size although some are still growing, this next (3rd) generation is going to be larger than the previous by a long shot. The smaller larvea have pupated, and I expect the oldest to eclose in a week!

Camponitus modoc: This queen has a nice pile of large larvae and one, much larger larvae that could possibly be a median nanitic. She hungrily accepted some honey water this week, the first in several weeks, but I could not take pictures of her in fear of disturbing the Formica queen next to her which eats brood easily.

 

 

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Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

My Formicariums

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#17 Offline AntsUtah - Posted April 18 2021 - 5:19 PM

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Update #6

 

Just a quick update with some of the fastest growing colonies:

 

 

Cremataogaster cerasi: This colony is starting to grow exponentially, 2 weeks ago they were at four workers, then 1 week ago 10, now 20, and a new batch of eggs is clearly visible every few days.

 

Attached File  IMG-0778.jpg   240.89KB   0 downloads

 

Temnothorax nevadensis: All the pupae in the previous post pupated and the colony is now estimated to be more then 100 strong. Around 10 large larvae are visible, most likley elates. I don't know if temnothrax elates can mate in the nest, but I hope to find out

 

Attached File  IMG-0779.jpg   285.73KB   1 downloads

 

Monomorium minimum: I have to admit, this colony was not started from a single queen, rather it is multiple colonies brought together. In my experience, Monomorium minimum is capable of merging colonies with ease. And because this species is very prevalant and somewhat invasive in my area, I have decided to make good use of them. By relocating half of each colony I find into this super colony, I hope to slow the spread of this species in my area. Anyways, this colony has more then 10 queens and a couple hundred workers. The modular petri-dish formicariums I have setup for them work very well, and in my opinion work better then testubes. The only problem is condensation for such small ants, but casualties are minimal, and much less then testube setups.

 

Attached File  IMG-0776.jpg   341.69KB   0 downloads

Attached File  IMG-0775.jpg   377.42KB   0 downloads

 

Camponotus Modoc: After a long hibernaiton, the modoc queen finally had her first nanitic as seen below, there's also a good 4 pupae in their mini hearth as well, can't wait to document their growth, and I'd love to hear about any tips or tricks with this species.

 
Attached File  IMG-0783 (1).jpg   194.83KB   0 downloads

 

Attached Files


Edited by AntsUtah, April 18 2021 - 5:21 PM.

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Leave the road, take the trails. —Pythagoras

 

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#18 Offline NicholasP - Posted April 18 2021 - 7:45 PM

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Nice!


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#19 Offline mantisgal - Posted April 19 2021 - 7:10 AM

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Wow so many beautiful babies! I wish your colonies continued success!


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#20 Online ANTdrew - Posted April 19 2021 - 8:22 AM

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Nice work! Why would you want to slow a native Monomorium? They seem to coexist well with other species and fly under the radar by nature.
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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.





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