I've done it. I can finally rest.
On July 20th, 2021, I finally caught a Pheidole rhea queen on Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ.
Normally I would never start a journal this early, I typically wait until I'm sure the queen will live and rear a successful colony. Hell, making this journal this early might be bad luck, but I'm gonna take my chances... let's hope I don't regret it.
This picture might not show her true size super well, so here's something else to show a sense of scale.
That's a Camponotus ocreatus queen, the largest Camponotus in AZ. Yeah. When they said "largest Pheidole in the world", they weren't kidding.
Now, I've heard horror stories about these queens, specifically them being pretty terrible at founding. Needless to say this was, and really still is, kinda terrifying. So almost immediately I gave her some Pheidole pilifera brood to see if she would accept it. Well, so far at least, all seems mostly well, and one P. pilifera worker has eclosed and neither party seems fussed about it. If I can get this queen a kickstart of 10-15 workers early, that'll be a huge advantage.
As for now that's basically all I have. A piece of good news is that the queen is already laying and caring for her eggs, so if there's anything to go off, it seems like a good sign for what's to come.
Edited by CheetoLord02, January 13 2022 - 9:01 PM.