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Polyacanthus' parasitic Formica pergandei

formica pergandei sanguinea

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#1 Offline Polyacanthus - Posted July 18 2021 - 6:46 PM

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Spinning this species off my combined journal located here: https://www.formicul...us-ant-journal/

On the afternoon of July 10 I found some of these queens in my yard. I know of at least two of their colonies that I often see conducting slave raids on the F. pallidefulva nests around the yard. One of the pergandei colonies has mostly pallidefulva workers but also has some subsericea.

Last year I saw a gathering of alates thinking about flying, but they went back into the nest. It was evening and I'm pretty sure they fly in the morning. I missed their flight and hadn't seen any alates after that.

Fast forward to the 10th and I was checking out pallidefulva queens running around, and noticed the pergandei! So I kept my eyes peeled and found a few more.

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I figured they were sanguinea group, and the identification forum agreed. With some more pics I have narrowed them down to pergandei.

Edited by Polyacanthus, July 18 2021 - 6:49 PM.

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#2 Offline Polyacanthus - Posted July 18 2021 - 7:31 PM

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The next step was to figure out how to raise these. I honestly hadn't done much research since I didn't know if I'd ever actually catch a queen 😆

Lucky for me AntsBC has a great tutorial here: https://www.formicul...aiding-formica/

Adding a parasitic queen to a colony is a little too brutal for me, so I was glad to read about donating pupae to the parasitic queens. Also lucky for me, I have half a dozen young colonies of Formica pallidefulva that could be donors! They aren't very big though, a couple of the largest colonies are around 30 workers. So I don't have too many pupae to spare yet. I'm also not willing to dig up a wild nest, although if I catch a brood raid going down in my yard I definitely will (and have) steal back some stolen pupae. Finders keepers!

So I went about stealing some pupae from my pallidefulva. This isn't as easy as it sounds since they are so jumpy and grab all the brood and run around all crazy whenever they are disturbed. And by disturbed I mean just touching their tube to remove the cotton ball will set them off! I guess I understand that behavior with pergandei around always trying to steal their brood.

I was able to wrangle several pupae. I gave three to one queen and a couple to another. The following night I was able to steal some more from another colony, so I believe they had 5 each

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When I checked back the following night, one of the queens had died, but the other appeared to be tending to some of the pupae.

It has been a week now, so I checked on her tonight, success!

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Thinking tomorrow I'll see if they want some sugar water.

Edited by Polyacanthus, July 18 2021 - 7:40 PM.

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#3 Offline Polyacanthus - Posted July 19 2021 - 7:00 PM

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They both drank some sugar water tonight.

And while we wait for the other pupae to eclose,

PIGGYBACK RIDES!!

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#4 Offline Polyacanthus - Posted August 2 2021 - 7:47 PM

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About a week ago I saw a brood raid on the driveway when I got home from work. I collected a bunch of workers carrying brood and put them in the fridge until they dropped their ill-gotten goods. Then I gave the brood to one of the other queens who didn't have any yet.

Tonight when I checked on them, she has laid three eggs!

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Edited by Polyacanthus, August 2 2021 - 7:48 PM.

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#5 Offline smares - Posted August 2 2021 - 8:05 PM

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Is this an obligate slave raider? They can't care for there own larvae and need workers of other sp to raise their brood?
It's super cool that both slave and raider occur on your property and you get to see their natural behavior!

#6 Offline JamesJohnson - Posted August 2 2021 - 8:35 PM

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Is this an obligate slave raider? They can't care for there own larvae and need workers of other sp to raise their brood?
It's super cool that both slave and raider occur on your property and you get to see their natural behavior!

No, this species is a facultative slave-raider, so although they'd prefer having slaves, they don't need them.


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#7 Offline Polyacanthus - Posted August 3 2021 - 7:54 PM

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It's super cool that both slave and raider occur on your property and you get to see their natural behavior!


Yes, I have talked about it more in my main journal but it isn't uncommon to see a raid on a hot, sunny summer afternoon in my yard. It's a little sad to watch, but interesting. And the pallidefulva must be doing just fine despite being raided all the time because queens were absolutely everywhere a couple weeks ago. And it's not like I'm out in the country either, just a regular suburban lot.

Edited by Polyacanthus, August 3 2021 - 7:56 PM.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: formica, pergandei, sanguinea

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