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(Acromyrmex and more!) YsTheAnt's Journal

journal myrmecocystus leafcutters acromyrmex camponotus

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#1 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted February 10 2021 - 7:00 PM

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Hey everyone!

 

Been too busy to update or create more species-specific journals consistently, so I thought I'd make a journal that I'll update with whatever species I take videos/photos of every week or so.

 

 

Here's a list of the species included in this journal, that I will update as more posts are added:

  • Acromyrmex versicolor
  • Camponotus sansabeanus
  • Camponotus sayi
  • Camponotus us-ca02
  • Myrmecocystus placodops
  • Pogonomyrmex subdentatus

Edited by YsTheAnt, August 16 2021 - 8:55 PM.

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#2 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted February 10 2021 - 7:01 PM

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Acromyrmex versicolor (2/10/2021)

 

I received a colony fragment with two queens, workers and fungus early December from another antkeeper in Northern California. Unfortunately upon returning to my house, I saw that the workers were trying to kill the queens. I immediately separated the queens and workers from each other, and got the smallest workers I could find and gave 1-2 to each queen, along with a piece of fungus and some brood. Unfortunately the rest of the workers were too aggressive for me to try and introduce, and they died off a few weeks ago.

 

Luckily, both of the queens survived, and fast forward ~2 months and one of them is nearing 15 workers. Here are some pictures of this larger colony:

 

 

acromyrmex-1
 
acro2 1
 
 

I noticed some mites on the queen yesterday, my guess is that they are grain mites and likely came in on the oats. You can see them on her head and legs in the above images. They are extremely small and invisible to the naked eye. I removed the queen from the colony and gave her exposure to direct sunlight for 20 minutes, washed her off with water, and tried brushing them off. I'm hoping that killed them, and will take a look at them under magnification in a few days to see if they fell off yet. Really hoping this queen survives, so far she seems to not be bothered by them much. I am going to exclude oats from their diet from the time being, in hopes that it will starve any mites that survived the sun.

 

 

The smaller colony is not growing nearly as fast, but the fungus is still healthy and it has 2 workers. In addition to these two queens, I got 10 more queens from cocdeshijie recently, which I am going to be boosting with fungus from the larger colony. I plan on keeping them in two groups of five.

 

 


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#3 Offline JenC - Posted February 10 2021 - 7:53 PM

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Hope they live
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Current Colonies:
1x Camponotus Vicinus (3 Workers)

Single Queens:
3x Camponotus Clarithorax
4x Camponotus Maritimus
5x Camponotus Ca02
7x Camponotus Sansabeanus
1x Myrmecocustus Testaceus
3x Prenolepis Imparis

#4 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted February 16 2021 - 1:20 PM

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Camponotus sansabeanus (2/16/2021)

 

This colony is nearing two years old now, and was raised from a single queen that I purchased from nurbs. I just started heating them up again, and moved them into a THA Fortress. 

 

sansamajor
 
sansaqueen
 

Personally, these are one of my favorite California Camponotus. They get fairly large and have awesome coloration. I haven't started feeding this colony yet, but last year they enjoyed rehydrated Hikari freeze-dried bloodworms, as well as fruit flies. I think I will continue to feed them this diet through the upcoming season. I estimate these are at a little over 50 workers now, hoping that they will pick up the growth soon.


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#5 Offline NickAnter - Posted February 16 2021 - 1:30 PM

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Any quercicola left? Would love to see a journal on those!


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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...


#6 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted February 16 2021 - 3:14 PM

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Any quercicola left? Would love to see a journal on those!


Think I might have one still, they stopped doing well after their second year. I’ll try catching some again this year and give them another go :)

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#7 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted March 22 2021 - 2:16 PM

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Acromyrmex versicolor (3/22/2021)

 

A lot going on with these colonies!

 

Firstly, I moved the larger colony into a formicarium sent to me by cocdeshijie. Normally only a small portion of the nest is moist, but I covered the nest chamber in soil so it would wick evenly across the hydrostone bottom, and provide moisture for the fungus. In addition, the smaller colony's fungus died off because it got too dry in their setup, and I couldn't get any fungus from the larger colony without disturbing them too much, so I tried reintroducing the two queens. At first, the workers clamped onto the new queen, but after a day everyone got along just fine.

 

For the past month, I haven't seen any eggs from the colony, but yesterday while checking on them I saw that they had a small batch of eggs again :).

 

IMG 4735

 

In the past they have been fed exclusively rose petals and oats, but last week I tried feeding them some fresh clover from near my house, which they loved. They used the clover to start hanging fungus on the roof too, just like they supposedly do in the wild. 

 

The ten queens new did not seem to care for their fungus at all, ignoring it and tearing whatever was left apart, so I decided not to jeopardize the health of the main garden any more trying to boost those queens.


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#8 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 22 2021 - 3:34 PM

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Clover is the coolest plant ever. I’ve converted about 70% of my lawn to clover now, and I plan to keep seeding more in April.

"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 NickAnter - Posted March 22 2021 - 3:38 PM

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I agree! It looks much better than grass in my humble opinion. It has taken over half of one lawn. Sadly my dad disagrees on the aesthetics of clover.


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...


#10 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted March 22 2021 - 3:59 PM

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It's pretty cool! Who doesn't like free ant food :lol:


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#11 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 22 2021 - 4:50 PM

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Clover leaves feed grazing mammals, leaf cutting ants, and they host various butterfly species. The nectar feeds bees of all kinds and probably small ants, too. The seeds feed birds and rodents and its nitrogen fixing roots improve the soil for all plants. If every lawn was converted to clover in this country, a lot of wildlife issues would improve drastically. Luckily I pay the mortgage, so I can plant whatever I want in my lawn. Heck, I even found two four leaf clovers last week.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#12 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted March 29 2021 - 10:07 AM

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Pogonomyrmex subdentatus (3/29/2021)

 

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the East Bay area to look for Pogonomyrmex subdentatus. I have been told the populations there are a lot denser than in the local mountains (in which they are quite sparse), so I thought I'd check it out. Upon arriving at the first location, I found loads of nests alongside a small stretch of road. Unfortunately, I didn't find any queens there. It was quite warm there, which makes me think they flew during the last heatwave.

 

I was going to check out these areas during the last heatwave in February, but it was supposed to be extremely windy then. Supposedly there was supposed to be 10mph winds when I went yesterday too, but it was nearly windless. I think the forecasts for these areas, at least for wind, are not accurate at all, so I'll be taking that into account in the fall when this species flies again.

 

The second area that I checked out was in the hills where it was noticeably cooler. Here, I found a few queens digging chambers, and dug up a few as well. There weren't nearly as many colonies here as in the other location, but I ended up with 5 queens for the trip :).

 

Pogonomyrmex subdentatus queen (3/28/2021)

 


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#13 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted May 18 2021 - 6:27 PM

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(5/18/2021) Acromyrmex Versicolor

 

Its been a while, but my Acromyrmex colony has really picked it up. A few weeks ago, the smaller colony's fungus died off and all that remained was the queen and one worker. I decided to combine that queen and one remaining worker with my other colony and hope for the best, as the fungus from my larger colony wasn't really accessible at the time for a boost. For the first two days, there was on and off struggle between the original colony's workers and the newly introduced queen, but a few weeks later and they are all getting along fine. Both of the queens like to hang out on one of the larger fungus chunks :).

 

Here's a pic from a few days ago of their egg pile, in the background you can see one clearly visible queen, and a blur of the other. Some of these eggs are now medium sized larvae.

 

Acromyrmex 5/18/2021

 

Camponotus us-ca02 

 

Haven't shown this colony here yet, but I bought a handful of these queens back in 2019, and this is the colony that I held onto. They are a little over two years old now, and have over 100 workers, with one large major (not pictured) and a handful of medians. I've been trying to get good shots of the major, but none of them come out great. I'll keep trying. This year I pulled them out of hibernation in February, but they didn't lay eggs for three weeks afterwards. Because of this I put them back into my unheated garage (that averaged in the 50's to low 60's at the time) for another few weeks, which kickstarted egg laying. 

 

This colony primarily feeds on fruit flies and sunburst nectar. They have a strong appetite. Interestingly, I've never seen the major leave the nest. Maybe the inner diameter of the tubing is too small for head, but if I remember correctly, the queen was able to fit down there when I first gave them their current nest (Tar heel ants Hearth)

 

ca02 5/18/2021
 
Camponotus sansabeanus
 
This colony is doing great as always. I recently positioned their nest so the outworld of their Fortress touches the heating cable I have running through the cabinet they are in, and they moved a bunch of brood out. Its nice to get a top-down view of these guys, really makes the size of the majors stand out. So far, I haven't noticed any major pupae from their first batch of eggs for the year, but hopefully they will produce more as the season progresses. I estimate they have around 75-100 workers total.
 
sansabeanus 5/18/2021
 
sansabeanus 2 5/18/2021
 
That's it for this update! Here's a list of some of the other species I keep that haven't been featured here yet, let me know if you guys would like to see any of them in the future.
 
In no particular order:
 

Pogonomyrmex rugosus

Novomessor cockerelli
Myrmecocystus mexicanus
Myrmecocystus mimicus
Camponotus maccooki
Camponotus
cf. semitestaceus (desert variety)
Camponotus vicinus
Camponotus laeviissimus
Camponotus sayi
Camponotus hyatti
Camponotus maritimus
Camponotus clarithorax

Camponotus modoc

Veromessor andrei


 

 

 


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#14 Offline NickAnter - Posted May 18 2021 - 8:47 PM

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I would like to see updates on the C. semitestaceus and maritimus. Cool to finally see more large captive us-ca02 colonies! And glad the Acromyrmex are doing well.!


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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...


#15 Offline ReignofRage - Posted May 18 2021 - 9:08 PM

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C. sayi updates would be cool.


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#16 Offline ZTYguy - Posted May 19 2021 - 11:36 AM

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Nice that the Acromyrmex are doing good and I’d like to see a mexicanus journal. Aren’t too many and they are one of my favorites.


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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.
Yt: https://www.youtube....DEl5oKCB20Fj1Q/
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Shop: https://www.formicul...op/#entry169639

#17 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted June 16 2021 - 5:17 PM

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Camponotus sayi (6/16/2021)

 

I received four of these queens with brood a while back, and shortly after receiving them they got their first workers. Currently, all the colonies have 4-7 workers and 10+ brood. 

 

 

Out of all the myrmentoma species in California, I really love the coloration on these the most. The workers are a bright red-orange with black gasters when fully hardened (some of the workers in these pictures are recently eclosed, and are a more yellow color) and the queens have a similar coloration. I've noticed that these grow quite fast as well, with one of the colonies having over 20 eggs, larvae and pupae. Unfortunately that one is in a plastic test tube and is difficult to photograph, so the images are of one of the other colonies.

 

IMG 2904
 
IMG 2908
 
IMG 2916
 

One of the species that I first wanted a large colony of in the hobby was Camponotus hyatti, and these are arguably even prettier, so I'm really excited to see these colonies grow :).


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#18 Offline NickAnter - Posted June 16 2021 - 5:51 PM

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There is a color variant of what I think is C. essigi near Merced CA that also has these nice red workers, as well as the majors. Not quite as shiny of a red, but still red.


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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...


#19 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted June 29 2021 - 3:49 PM

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Myrmecocystus cf placodops (6/29/2021)

 

Recently the deserts of Southern California got hit by one of the first monsoon storms of the season, which dumped a few inches of rain on multiple locations. Unfortunately, most places had little to no flights, despite the heavy rain. Thankfully, on the last stop of my trip (on 6/25-6/26) I found these gorgeous queens! Been wanting a melliger-group Myrmecocystus colony for a while, so I'm really looking forward to see how these grow. In total I caught 10 of them. all of which are still alive. I checked on them today and 4/10 have eggs already.

 

 

Originally, I thought these were Myrmecocystus mendax, but after running them through Snelling's Myrmecocystus key and taking measurements of the hairs and eyes, it appears that they are actually Myrmecocystus placodops  :)


Edited by YsTheAnt, June 29 2021 - 3:53 PM.

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#20 Offline JamesJohnson - Posted June 29 2021 - 4:16 PM

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Nice find! Myrmecocystus placodops seems to be one of the hardier species of Myrmecocystus (as in significantly less random queen deaths), so best of luck with these guys.
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