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Ferox's Stigmatomma pallipes Journal (Updated 4/29/2021)


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#1 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted April 12 2021 - 4:51 AM

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Lately, I've been using a method of sampling referred to as the Berlese funnel method, which uses a funnel, a light, mesh, and a collection container to collect soil invertebrates for study. It hinges on the fact that soil arthropods do not tolerate light, and will tunnel to escape it, falling into the container of preservative at the bottom. However, sometimes it doesn't get them all, as they are sometimes able to find damp areas in which to escape to. This is how I managed to find a queen of Stigmatomma pallipes. The soil she was found in was a sample of detritus from the base of a large tulip tree. The soil sample also contained Ponera pennsylvanica, Hypoponera opaciceps, Strumigenys ornata, Proceratium silaceum, and Myrmecina americana. The collection area was a closed canopy oak-hickory forest remnant with tracts of American holly, tulip, winged elm, mockernut hickory, black cherry, flowering dogwood, water and white oak, river birch, red maple, American sweetgum, Ohio buckeye, Eastern redcedar, and loblolly pine. The habitat is situated on a cove of the Saluda River in Prosperity, SC. Unfortunately, this area is set to be cleared within the next few months in order to build a house. Before the area is cleared, I've been doing lots of sampling, particularly in the soil, and I've found the area to be extremely biodiverse, despite it being situated in a developing neighborhood on only an acre of land.

 

The queen was found while I was cleaning out the funnel, as there was still material in it that had yet to dry out and was stuck to the sides. In this last little bit of soil were tons of Ponera and a single Myrmecina worker, along with this beautiful Stigmatomma pallipes queen. This wasn't the first time I'd collected the species from the area, as I'd collected a single worker once before, but I was definitely surprised to find a single queen. Currently, the queen is being kept in a test tube setup with a soil substrate. I have yet to feed her, but when I do, she will be fed on a diet of primarily soil centipedes and large springtails (there are some around 3 mm I've seen around here). One thing I will do for her is try and see if I can find any workers or other queens to boost her with. I do know of a colony nearby I could collect from, so I'll see if I can find that colony again, as I haven't seen them since last season around September.

 

I am certainly very excited to be keeping this queen, and I hope she does well. There probably won't be many updates on this queen, as their brood can take nearly a year to develop. However, I'll try and post pictures whenever I can. Stay posted!

 

original.jpg?1618182753

 

original.jpg?1618182832


Edited by Ferox_Formicae, April 29 2021 - 4:55 AM.

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#2 Offline Manitobant - Posted April 12 2021 - 7:31 AM

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If you ever find workers you can introduce them to the queen and they won’t fight. Stigmatomma fuse colonies very easily. This is also a lot easier than just raising the queen alone.
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#3 Offline ANTdrew - Posted April 12 2021 - 8:06 AM

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Good luck! What a shame they’re going to destroy such a rich habitat. For sure it will end just turf and a few crape myrtles.
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#4 Offline Antkeeper01 - Posted April 12 2021 - 8:44 AM

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Lately, I've been using a method of sampling referred to as the Berlese funnel method, which uses a funnel, a light, mesh, and a collection container to collect soil invertebrates for study. It hinges on the fact that soil arthropods do not tolerate light, and will tunnel to escape it, falling into the container of preservative at the bottom. However, sometimes it doesn't get them all, as they are sometimes able to find damp areas in which to escape to. This is how I managed to find a queen of Stigmatomma pallipes. The soil she was found in was a sample of detritus from the base of a large tulip tree. The soil sample also contained Ponera pennsylvanica, Hypoponera opaciceps, Strumigenys ornata, Proceratium pergandei, and Myrmecina americana. The collection area was a closed canopy oak-hickory forest remnant with tracts of American holly, tulip, winged elm, mockernut hickory, black cherry, flowering dogwood, water and white oak, river birch, Eastern redcedar, and loblolly pine. The habitat is situated on a cove of the Saluda River in Prosperity, SC. Unfortunately, this area is set to be cleared within the next few months in order to build a house. Before the area is cleared, I've been doing lots of sampling, particularly in the soil, and I've found the area to be extremely biodiverse, despite it being situated in a developing neighborhood on only an acre of land.

 

The queen was found while I was cleaning out the funnel, as there was still material in it that had yet to dry out and was stuck to the sides. In this last little bit of soil were tons of Ponera and a single Myrmecina worker, along with this beautiful Stigmatomma pallipes queen. This wasn't the first time I'd collected the species from the area, as I'd collected a single worker once before, but I was definitely surprised to find a single queen. Currently, the queen is being kept in a test tube setup with a soil substrate. I have yet to feed her, but when I do, she will be fed on a diet of primarily soil centipedes and large springtails (there are some around 3 mm I've seen around here). One thing I will do for her is try and see if I can find any workers or other queens to boost her with. I do know of a colony nearby I could collect from, so I'll see if I can find that colony again, as I haven't seen them since last season around September.

 

I am certainly very excited to be keeping this queen, and I hope she does well. There probably won't be many updates on this queen, as their brood can take nearly a year to develop. However, I'll try and post pictures whenever I can. Stay posted!

 

original.jpg?1618182753

 

original.jpg?1618182832

dig up all the colonies and keep some and relocate others!


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#5 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted April 13 2021 - 4:04 AM

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If you ever find workers you can introduce them to the queen and they won’t fight. Stigmatomma fuse colonies very easily. This is also a lot easier than just raising the queen alone.

Yes, that is what I plan on doing. I may actually try and move in the lighter, smaller phase of the species, as I know those also live here, and I'd like to see if they are able to fuse, as I've seen someone on here say that the two phases don't mix, though I'd like to test that myself.

 

Good luck! What a shame they’re going to destroy such a rich habitat. For sure it will end just turf and a few crape myrtles.

Actually, it's going to become a house similar to my own. The good thing is that the house builders in my neighborhood tend to leave large tracts of trees, and I suspect most of the area will be left undisturbed, including the closed-canopy portion of the forest, which is where the majority of the native ant biomass seems to be located.

 

dig up all the colonies and keep some and relocate others!

 

I'll try my best, but as of yet, I've only been able to locate a single colony, and that is in my yard. While finding single Stigmatomma foragers can be relatively easy, as they can be readily found in litter samples, finding more than a single worker can be difficult, as they are often subterranean.


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#6 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted April 16 2021 - 10:47 AM

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I haven't found any workers yet, but I also haven't been looking to hard, as I've been mostly focused on marking each and every single colony of Trachymyrmex septentrionalis I can find in my yard (so far I've found around 35, and I'm finding around 3 new colonies every day). I did give the queen a soil centipede, and though it took a while, she did end up accepting it. She seems to be settling in alright, and I'm starting to wonder if this queen might actually make it.


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#7 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted April 29 2021 - 4:55 AM

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I gave her a crushed June beetle of some sort and she dug right in! I checked on her last night and half of her was inside it. No eggs have been spotted as of yet.


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#8 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted April 29 2021 - 5:13 AM

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Any luck finding workers as of yet?
 


Edited by TennesseeAnts, April 29 2021 - 7:18 AM.


#9 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted April 29 2021 - 5:40 AM

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Any luck finding workers as of yet?
Any luck finding workers as of yet?

Not yet. I was looking for a bit last night, but no luck.


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#10 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted April 29 2021 - 5:42 AM

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Under stones and logs under leaf litter are great places to find foraging workers. 



#11 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted April 29 2021 - 6:20 AM

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Under stones and logs under leaf litter are great places to find foraging workers. 

I do know that, yes.


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#12 Offline Chickalo - Posted April 29 2021 - 6:32 AM

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Under stones and logs under leaf litter are great places to find foraging workers. 

Yup, found three stigmatomma pallipes workers a couple weeks ago under a rock on the side of an overhang


Edited by Chickalo, April 29 2021 - 6:33 AM.

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Nope nope nope nope nope


#13 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted April 29 2021 - 6:37 AM

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Under stones and logs under leaf litter are great places to find foraging workers. 

Yup, found three stigmatomma pallipes workers a couple weeks ago under a rock on the side of an overhang

 

It's not that I don't know where to look, it's just that I haven't had as much time to look. I know where I could likely find workers, but I've been pretty preoccupied with other things, like Strumigenys and Trachymyrmex. Also with trying to convince fishermen to not kill the gar...


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#14 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted April 29 2021 - 7:22 AM

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Under stones and logs under leaf litter are great places to find foraging workers. 

Yup, found three stigmatomma pallipes workers a couple weeks ago under a rock on the side of an overhang

 

It's not that I don't know where to look, it's just that I haven't had as much time to look. I know where I could likely find workers, but I've been pretty preoccupied with other things, like Strumigenys and Trachymyrmex. Also with trying to convince fishermen to not kill the gar...

 

Oh, I see. 

Yeah what is up with people trying to kill gar? I can understand killing the carp, cause invasive, but gar are awesome! 


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#15 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted April 29 2021 - 9:39 AM

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Under stones and logs under leaf litter are great places to find foraging workers. 

Yup, found three stigmatomma pallipes workers a couple weeks ago under a rock on the side of an overhang

 

It's not that I don't know where to look, it's just that I haven't had as much time to look. I know where I could likely find workers, but I've been pretty preoccupied with other things, like Strumigenys and Trachymyrmex. Also with trying to convince fishermen to not kill the gar...

 

Oh, I see. 

Yeah what is up with people trying to kill gar? I can understand killing the carp, cause invasive, but gar are awesome! 

 

People think they kill all of the game fish. They think they're competition for food too. First of all, what are sunfish then? They kill more of your precious bass than the gar ever could! There's a reason bass stay guard over their nests, and it's the sunfish. The bass don't care about the gar. Gar aren't really a threat to bass eggs or fry. I mean young gar, yes, but they don't school up like sunfish do. And yes, gar can kill gamefish, but so do osprey, so do eagles! Competition for food, not really. Evolution doesn't allow that. One of the species would've gone extinct, but no, they're both thriving. Gar have been around for 100 million years, and they have not hindered the evolution of native gamefish. The gar do one thing, gamefish do another. Gar are opportunists. They'll eat pretty much anything they can find. Most gamefish go for live prey. So why do people hate gar? I'll tell you why, cause they're hard to catch! I mean people don't hate pike, and they're more competitive than the gar are, as they inhabit a similar (not identical, mind you) niche to the bass. But pike are easier to catch than gar are, so people don't hate them. People hate gar cause they're too stupid to realize that you can catch them, it just takes a bit more effort and patience. So yeah, that's why, and it sucks.


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#16 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted April 30 2021 - 3:58 AM

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I found another queen! I collected her while searching for rotting mockernuts in the leaf litter at the base of a mockernut hickory. The queens have accepted each other, as was expected. I've given them some soil centipedes, and they took them in a heartbeat, which was surprising, as the original queen had already eaten a beetle. Hopefully founding goes a little more smoothly now.


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