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Do Formica fusca have big headed majors?


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#1 Offline Formiga - Posted August 30 2021 - 7:52 PM

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Noob question time! (again!) :blush:

 

This is something I couldn't figure out up to now. I've searched around and can't find reliable info.

And no hurries here, I know they take their time to start getting born in the colonies.

 

The place where I caught my queens has huge ants with big heads and mandibles, definitely majors. Apart from this species, I've only seen on another place on the dunes some little red ants, not related with these ones with majors and the ones I've got.

 

I keep on assuming the queens I've got are from the same species of that has those majors. But alates "alate" away (AKA flying) somewhat away from where they've come.

By the ID I've requested here I was told Formica fusca. I've been feeding my ants insects and the ones I've seen in that capture place do make long queues in outside excursion, carrying lots of seeds and vegetation, but I guess insects as prey are not that abundant there.

 

So can anyone please tell me if the European Formica fusca have big headed majors?

 

And by the way, any idea of how far alates can fly away from their original colonies to reproduce?

 

 

 

Thanks guys!



#2 Offline Manitobant - Posted August 30 2021 - 10:10 PM

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No formica species have big headed majors, although they can have a difference in worker size.
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#3 Offline Formiga - Posted August 30 2021 - 10:38 PM

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No formica species have big headed majors, although they can have a difference in worker size.

 

Interesting!

 

The ants by that place surely had huge big-headed majors and were harvesters, those are some basic observations pretty hard to mess up. But I've never actually seen any queen (like in most natural colonies) I could compare to mine.

Could my ants be from some other species?

Even if they have flown from somewhat far away, I've caught 9 of them, so I find it unlikely to be some new species in that habitat. Perhaps a different one, similar and went unnoticed to me, with a different mating flight calendar.

 

Anyway, if all goes well, time will tell if I will have majors or not.

 

In a few days it's going to rain. I have a couple of places I want to go queen hunting, including going back to where I've caught these queens. It would be interesting to catch queens from other species in the same place but at a different time!

When I go back there I'll take pictures of the ants there and post them here for identification. This has gotten me even more confused! :blink:



#4 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 31 2021 - 2:03 AM

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The wild ants you observed are perhaps another species. Messor harvest seeds and have majors, I believe. It is also easy to confuse Camponotus with Formica, and they would have majors as well. The whole idea of a nuptial flight is to spread the alates as far away as possible.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#5 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted August 31 2021 - 12:31 PM

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If they were harvester I would guess they are a Messor species, like Drew has said.

#6 Offline Formiga - Posted August 31 2021 - 1:01 PM

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Yes, I do agree and am inclined to conclude the ants with majors are some sort of Messor, yes.

Maybe the wind just brought me some Formicas :yes:

Where did them come from? Just ask the wind...

I'm happy with them and I love their behavior, they're great and have been teaching me a lot.

 

Some weeks ago I've found a Messor queen walking around in town on a side walk, just out of the blue!

I caught it but had no container, and when I was just about 1 meter from my car (where I have a Pringles can I can carry stuff)... I checked for the queen and it was gone from my hand! :o :*(

I still looked around  for 10 minutes to see if I could find it but nope, too many pebbles on the ground where she could hide. I ended up leaving her in a perfect place to found a colony, with sandy ground to dig and the kind of vegetation they like to harvest.

If I see Messors there in the future, "I know your mom!" :D

Lesson learned: From now on I always carry a small container just in case.

 

Today I've bought a magnifying lens I can juxtapose on my phone's camera for some magnification. Soon I'll go back to that place, after raining, and see what's there.


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#7 Offline Formiga - Posted September 12 2021 - 11:10 AM

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The wild ants you observed are perhaps another species. Messor harvest seeds and have majors, I believe. It is also easy to confuse Camponotus with Formica, and they would have majors as well.

You've popped up a question I've been having on my mind.

 

I have wild ant colonies on my front yard. The floor is made out of cement bricks and they like to dig the compacted sand between the bricks and make their homes there.

Visually they are similar to Formicas, small in size. But they are big on numbers (strangely big comparing to the time they would have as Formicas from their nuptial flight up to now, Formicas wouldn't have enough time to breed so many ants) and they have majors. Small ones but definitely majors with their characteristic big heads. I can't identify them, they're so small and without a queen I can't even guess. I don't think they are Camponotus (although there are a lot of subspecies of them). I've seen some definitely Camponotus in the wild (inside an Eucalyptus root, with a lot of saw dust being carried by them) and they are bigger than Messors but not so roundish and curvy, they seem more slim and athletic. I'd love to have some of those!! ;)

 

These ants in my front yard have been raiding my home at night, specially going after my cat's food. :D (poor girl looking at me with a desperate face telling me "My food bowl is filled with moving bitter thinguies!"  :blink:

I've managed to find their entrance and dropped a couple of cat food pellets around. They've thanked me for their help and never raided the house again. Win-win!


Edited by Formiga, September 12 2021 - 11:12 AM.


#8 Offline Formiga - Posted September 12 2021 - 11:17 AM

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OK guys, just to give you the promised update.

I went back to the place where I've captured my Formica Fusca queens and I could see some colonies there, replicating the numbers and behaviors I have here at home, also without majors.

 

Also the usual Messors, and I could clearly see the difference between the colonies.

 

So there are, in that place, definitely Formicas and Messors.

 

Thanks guys for giving me the info, it's nice to go into the field and apply it in order to clear out questions! (y)



#9 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 12 2021 - 6:01 PM

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Take good photos and follow the format for an ID thread, and folks can help you.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.





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