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**SEE LINK**Ferox's Strumigenys reflexa Journal (Updated 5/17/2021)


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#1 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 10 2021 - 4:17 AM

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About 2 meters from where I found the Strumigenys brevisetosa colony I found these pretty little gals, Strumigenys reflexa. Mostly uncommon throughout their range, I find them to be at least moderately common around my house, with workers found in multiple locations, including alongside my driveway. This, however, was my first time finding a colony. They were located at the base of an American holly tree in the heavily wooded lot beside my house. I've been trying to do as much collecting from this area as possible before they clear it out later this year, and I found these alongside a few Strumigenys pilinasis (=ohioensis) workers. As I had other things to do, I scooped up as much material from the area as possible and ran it through my Berlese funnel, where the rest of the colony appeared in the collection container at the bottom a few days later, including the queen. A few S. pilinasis workers showed up too, but no queen was present. I'll probably try and collect them later. Anyways, within the first half hour of me moving the colony into their temporary holding container, the queen had already laid an egg, which I believe they later ate. I gave them three springtails, and they have eaten all but one, that one possibly being of a species they do not consume, as it is extremely jittery and flighty, not staying put when the Strumigenys approach like other springtails do. Anyways, it's always great to try and keep a species I've never owned before, and I hope they take to captivity well.

 

original.jpg?1595354500

The head of Strumigenys reflexa showing the sets of backward-curving hairs unique to this species


Edited by Ferox_Formicae, May 17 2021 - 4:50 AM.

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Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus nearcticus, Stigmatomma pallipesStrumigenys brevisetosaStrumigenys clypeataStrumigenys louisianaeStrumigenys membraniferaStrumigenys reflexaStrumigenys rostrata

 

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#2 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted May 10 2021 - 5:31 AM

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I've always found Strumigenys heads rather disturbing.


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#3 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 10 2021 - 5:39 AM

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I've always found Strumigenys heads rather disturbing.

I find them rather charming, but yes, I can see where you're coming from. Those hairs have a function, but no one knows what it is. They probably use them to sooth springtails, as they look like fruiting fungus spores, but considering the springtails have very poor vision, they are likely tactile in function, or maybe emit some sort of substance that attracts the springtails. Whatever the case, the springtails don't seem to freak out too much when the Strumigenys touch them with their antennae, which is odd considering their immediate reaction is to spring away when touched by even the smallest of soil arthropods. It's just funny how a tiny nematode can get them going, but an ant 3x their size gets little to no reaction in many cases.


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Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus nearcticus, Stigmatomma pallipesStrumigenys brevisetosaStrumigenys clypeataStrumigenys louisianaeStrumigenys membraniferaStrumigenys reflexaStrumigenys rostrata

 

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#4 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted May 10 2021 - 5:51 AM

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I've always found Strumigenys heads rather disturbing.

I find them rather charming, but yes, I can see where you're coming from. Those hairs have a function, but no one knows what it is. They probably use them to sooth springtails, as they look like fruiting fungus spores, but considering the springtails have very poor vision, they are likely tactile in function, or maybe emit some sort of substance that attracts the springtails. Whatever the case, the springtails don't seem to freak out too much when the Strumigenys touch them with their antennae, which is odd considering their immediate reaction is to spring away when touched by even the smallest of soil arthropods. It's just funny how a tiny nematode can get them going, but an ant 3x their size gets little to no reaction in many cases.

 

That is very interesting and I did not know that. Maybe you can find out?


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#5 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 10 2021 - 6:42 AM

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I've always found Strumigenys heads rather disturbing.

I find them rather charming, but yes, I can see where you're coming from. Those hairs have a function, but no one knows what it is. They probably use them to sooth springtails, as they look like fruiting fungus spores, but considering the springtails have very poor vision, they are likely tactile in function, or maybe emit some sort of substance that attracts the springtails. Whatever the case, the springtails don't seem to freak out too much when the Strumigenys touch them with their antennae, which is odd considering their immediate reaction is to spring away when touched by even the smallest of soil arthropods. It's just funny how a tiny nematode can get them going, but an ant 3x their size gets little to no reaction in many cases.

 

That is very interesting and I did not know that. Maybe you can find out?

 

Many have tried, many have failed. If any one's going to figure it out, it'll likely be Doug Booher. In any case, I doubt I'll be the one to find out what's going on with those hairs.


Currently Keeping:

 

Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus nearcticus, Stigmatomma pallipesStrumigenys brevisetosaStrumigenys clypeataStrumigenys louisianaeStrumigenys membraniferaStrumigenys reflexaStrumigenys rostrata

 

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#6 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 11 2021 - 4:49 AM

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While I was looking for some Strumigenys ornata in an area I found a foraging worker a few days ago, I found some Strumigenys reflexa instead. I haven't collected the colony yet, but I'll run the soil through my Berlese funnel once I've run everything else I need to through it.


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Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus nearcticus, Stigmatomma pallipesStrumigenys brevisetosaStrumigenys clypeataStrumigenys louisianaeStrumigenys membraniferaStrumigenys reflexaStrumigenys rostrata

 

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#7 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 14 2021 - 8:31 AM

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I got a few pictures of these pretty little gals. View all images posted on iNaturalist here.

 

original.jpg?1621006161

 

original.jpg?1621006166

 

original.jpg?1621006176

 

original.jpg?1621006156


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Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus nearcticus, Stigmatomma pallipesStrumigenys brevisetosaStrumigenys clypeataStrumigenys louisianaeStrumigenys membraniferaStrumigenys reflexaStrumigenys rostrata

 

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#8 Offline NPLT - Posted May 14 2021 - 9:00 AM

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Can I ask what is that yellow thing on their petiole?


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Um, uh, Ants!

 

link to journal: https://www.formicul...lt-ant-journal/


#9 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 14 2021 - 9:26 AM

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Can I ask what is that yellow thing on their petiole?

That's actually a great question. Referred to as spongiform tissue, this yellow-white tissue structure is present in many Strumigenys species, along with a few other Attines, but is absent in most other species. While the purpose of this tissue is currently unclear, it is suspected to be either some form of protection for the petiole and postpetiole or a means of collecting chemicals secreted by the ants. There are actually many aspects of the morphology of these ants we do not currently understand, and this is just one of them. Another one is what's going on with the odd, highly variable hairs that adorn their bodies, though are most morphologically diverse on the clypeus.


Currently Keeping:

 

Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus nearcticus, Stigmatomma pallipesStrumigenys brevisetosaStrumigenys clypeataStrumigenys louisianaeStrumigenys membraniferaStrumigenys reflexaStrumigenys rostrata

 

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#10 Offline NPLT - Posted May 14 2021 - 9:42 AM

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Can I ask what is that yellow thing on their petiole?

That's actually a great question. Referred to as spongiform tissue, this yellow-white tissue structure is present in many Strumigenys species, along with a few other Attines, but is absent in most other species. While the purpose of this tissue is currently unclear, it is suspected to be either some form of protection for the petiole and postpetiole or a means of collecting chemicals secreted by the ants. There are actually many aspects of the morphology of these ants we do not currently understand, and this is just one of them. Another one is what's going on with the odd, highly variable hairs that adorn their bodies, though are most morphologically diverse on the clypeus.

 

Interesting. 


Um, uh, Ants!

 

link to journal: https://www.formicul...lt-ant-journal/


#11 Offline ponerinecat - Posted May 14 2021 - 9:09 PM

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I've always found Strumigenys heads rather disturbing.

I find them rather charming, but yes, I can see where you're coming from. Those hairs have a function, but no one knows what it is. They probably use them to sooth springtails, as they look like fruiting fungus spores, but considering the springtails have very poor vision, they are likely tactile in function, or maybe emit some sort of substance that attracts the springtails. Whatever the case, the springtails don't seem to freak out too much when the Strumigenys touch them with their antennae, which is odd considering their immediate reaction is to spring away when touched by even the smallest of soil arthropods. It's just funny how a tiny nematode can get them going, but an ant 3x their size gets little to no reaction in many cases.

 

Hasn't it been suggested the hairs collect debris and act as camouflage, both chemical and visual? Considering the abundance of said hairs among other small, slow moving, specialist diet litter dwelling myrmicinae it doesn't seem especially far fetched.



#12 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 17 2021 - 4:18 AM

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I've always found Strumigenys heads rather disturbing.

I find them rather charming, but yes, I can see where you're coming from. Those hairs have a function, but no one knows what it is. They probably use them to sooth springtails, as they look like fruiting fungus spores, but considering the springtails have very poor vision, they are likely tactile in function, or maybe emit some sort of substance that attracts the springtails. Whatever the case, the springtails don't seem to freak out too much when the Strumigenys touch them with their antennae, which is odd considering their immediate reaction is to spring away when touched by even the smallest of soil arthropods. It's just funny how a tiny nematode can get them going, but an ant 3x their size gets little to no reaction in many cases.

 

Hasn't it been suggested the hairs collect debris and act as camouflage, both chemical and visual? Considering the abundance of said hairs among other small, slow moving, specialist diet litter dwelling myrmicinae it doesn't seem especially far fetched.

 

It's been suggested, but has yet to be proven. I believe the main argument against this hypothesis is the sheer diversity of hairs among members of the genus, some lacking them altogether. Shouldn't the hairs be more uniform if they serve one particular function?


Currently Keeping:

 

Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus nearcticus, Stigmatomma pallipesStrumigenys brevisetosaStrumigenys clypeataStrumigenys louisianaeStrumigenys membraniferaStrumigenys reflexaStrumigenys rostrata

 

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#13 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 17 2021 - 4:22 AM

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More workers have been collected and added to the colony, about 15 more to be specific. I'm working at collecting more workers from the collecting site, along with finding the Strumigenys pilinasis colony that is nearby judging on the presence of a few workers.


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Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus nearcticus, Stigmatomma pallipesStrumigenys brevisetosaStrumigenys clypeataStrumigenys louisianaeStrumigenys membraniferaStrumigenys reflexaStrumigenys rostrata

 

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#14 Offline Ferox_Formicae - Posted May 17 2021 - 4:49 AM

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Journal transferred to here.


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Camponotus chromaiodes, Camponotus nearcticus, Stigmatomma pallipesStrumigenys brevisetosaStrumigenys clypeataStrumigenys louisianaeStrumigenys membraniferaStrumigenys reflexaStrumigenys rostrata

 

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