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C. J. Howard's Ant Journal

crematogaster pristomyrmex odontomachus monomorium camponotus tetramorium

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#1 Offline cjhoward - Posted April 27 2022 - 11:28 PM

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Hi, everyone! I'm new to this site so thought I'd start by making an ant journal. I live in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China and I catch all my ants locally.

 

Camponotus japonicus had their nuptial flight the other day, so yesterday I caught four queens in their claustral chambers.

 

Attached File  camponotus-japonicus-1-2022-04-28.jpg   451.72KB   1 downloadsAttached File  camponotus-japonicus-2-2022-04-28.jpg   356.69KB   1 downloads

 

I also collected a couple hundred Pristomyrmex punctatus workers along with some brood yesterday. This species can reproduce without a queen, so they'll likely explode in population.

 

Attached File  pristomyrmex-punctatus-1-2022-04-28.jpg   282.46KB   1 downloadsAttached File  pristomyrmex-punctatus-2-2022-04-28.jpg   295.75KB   1 downloads

 

Found some Odontomachus cf. monticola as well, which I didn't know lived in my area until now. Unfortunately I couldn't find a queen, but I collected about 40 workers and will continue to raise them.

 

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Next up is my Crematogaster sp. colony, which I've had for a couple months. It's got one queen, 20 workers, and around 50 brood items, with 20 or so not far from eclosion. Also if anybody can help ID the species, I'd appreciate it!

 

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Here is my Monomorium pharonis Solenopsis sp. colony, which I've had for a couple weeks. I didn't find a queen, but I caught 100-200 workers and a lot of brood, some of which I'm hoping will develop into reproductives.

 

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This is my polygynous Tetramorium cf. caespitum colony, which I've had for a couple months. I collected four queens and a few hundred workers. They seem to be thriving and devour food very quickly.

 

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Finally, here is an unidentified a Nylanderia sp. queen I've had for a couple weeks. I caught her along with 50 or so workers, but unfortunately they all killed themselves with formic acid before I could get them home. Only the queen survived. She was injured, but has since laid about 40 eggs. I'm hoping she won't succumb to her injuries and will be able to raise the first batch by herself. I haven't been able to get a good quality pic of her yet and don't want to stress her out too much.

 

Attached File  unidentified-formicinae-2022-04-28.jpg   152.56KB   0 downloads

 

Not pictured here is a different Tetramorium species, which I have yet to identify. It's got a smaller queen than T. caespitum though.

 

Thanks for reading my ant journal! I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. I will likely post again soon with some new colonies, as I'm actively trying to collect queens of a few ponerine species in my area.


Edited by cjhoward, April 28 2022 - 6:59 PM.

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#2 Offline T.C. - Posted April 27 2022 - 11:33 PM

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Beautiful. It's this guys first post and it's formatted better than my life.  Love the pictures and species.


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#3 Offline Manitobant - Posted April 28 2022 - 11:56 AM

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Welcome to the forum! We don’t get people from asia here often, which is quite a shame considering all the cool species you guys have.





Also by the way, that monomorium pharaonis colony is actually a solenopsis species of some kind, and your unidentified queen is in the genus nylanderia.

Edited by Manitobant, April 28 2022 - 12:00 PM.

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#4 Offline cjhoward - Posted April 28 2022 - 6:56 PM

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Welcome to the forum! We don’t get people from asia here often, which is quite a shame considering all the cool species you guys have.





Also by the way, that monomorium pharaonis colony is actually a solenopsis species of some kind, and your unidentified queen is in the genus nylanderia.

Thank you! I'm actually from the U.S. but I've been living in China for about 6 years.

 

Wow, I found the colony just a couple cm away from a Pheidole colony, so my initial thought was that it was Solenopsis molesta, but I couldn't find any records of S. molesta in my province. I'll have to take a closer look at them. And thanks for the Nylanderia ID!


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#5 Offline Ants.co - Posted April 30 2022 - 1:57 PM

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Nice pictures and journal! Can't wait for updates  :)


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#6 Offline lazyant - Posted April 30 2022 - 2:46 PM

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Welcome, I am relatively new here myself, I love asian species. Can't wait to see the update!


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#7 Offline cjhoward - Posted May 9 2022 - 2:05 AM

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Update: Finally caught a queen of a large (1cm+) ponerine ant with 3 workers. One of her hindlegs appears to be severed at the tibia; I'm not sure if this happened in the collection process or if it was preexisting. Do any experienced ant-keepers know if this could be a colony-ending injury?

 

Attached File  mmexport1652089306333.jpg   330.61KB   0 downloads

 

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Also caught a Strumigenys sp. colony, with a queen and maybe 40 workers or so.

 

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Unfortunately the Nylanderia sp. queen that was injured with formic acid eventually died. However, I was able to catch another queen + colony and prevented a formic acid catastrophe this time.

 

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My four young Camponotus japonicus queens are doing well. Each queen has at least 20 eggs now.

 

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The colonies not pictured here (Pristomyrmex punctatus, Crematogaster sp., Solenopsis sp., Tetramorium cf. caespitum, Tetramorium sp., and Odontomachus cf. monticola) are all doing well, and I have no new updates regarding them at the moment.

 

I also happened to find a Proceratium sp. worker, which is apparently pretty rare, and hasn't been previously recorded in my province. I posted it in the Ant ID requests if you'd like to see photos, and I uploaded a short video of it on Twitter.

 

Thanks for following my ant journal!


Edited by cjhoward, May 9 2022 - 2:41 AM.

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#8 Offline Leo - Posted May 9 2022 - 3:47 AM

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if she has a good number of workers, the large ponerines (ectomomyrmex astutus group maybe?) should be fine


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#9 Offline cjhoward - Posted May 9 2022 - 4:26 AM

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if she has a good number of workers, the large ponerines (ectomomyrmex astutus group maybe?) should be fine

Ah okay. She only has 3 workers, so hopefully they can take care of her. And thanks for the possible ID!


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#10 Offline cjhoward - Posted May 22 2022 - 9:04 AM

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Update: Army ants! I found an Aenictus sp. colony, but unfortunately couldn't find the queen. I collected some workers so I could observe their behavior. It was fascinating watching them form little bivouacs.

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 21-18-37.png   1.58MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 21-15-51.png   1.62MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 21-30-38.png   1.79MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 21-52-43.png   1.27MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 21-57-33.png   1.79MB   0 downloads

 

I'm almost certain that I never collected a queen Odontomachus cf. monticola, only workers. However, I recently found that they have a big clutch of eggs of which they seem to be very protective. Could they be unfertilized eggs that will develop into males? Trophic eggs? Or possibly a gamergate? Any insights would be appreciated!

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 23-04-51.png   1.07MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 23-09-39.png   1.58MB   0 downloads

 

I recently collected a beautiful vibrant yellow Pheidole sp. colony which I had never seen before. I thought I only collected one queen, but on closer inspection I collected five!

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 22-04-26.png   1.83MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 22-09-42.png   1.7MB   0 downloads

 

Also collected a Pheidole cf. nodus colony, which is very common in my area.

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 22-47-07.png   1.8MB   0 downloads

 

Unfortunately the large ponerine queen with the severed leg, probably Ectomomyrmex astutus, died a day after my previous update. But I managed to catch a new one in her claustral chamber and she has since laid her first egg!

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 20-11-52.png   1.19MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 20-16-10.png   1.16MB   0 downloads

 

My Crematogaster sp. colony is doing very well! There are many new callows running around, and the queen has just been pumping out eggs.

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 18-46-34.png   2.02MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 18-17-06.png   1.46MB   0 downloads

 

Last time I checked, my Tetramorium cf. caespitum only had four dealates, now there are six dealates with a bunch more queen pupae about to eclose. There must have been some inbreeding going on...

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 22-53-22.png   1.64MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 22-52-04.png   1.79MB   0 downloads

 

I've been feeding a bunch of springtails to my Strumigenys sp. colony. They're really successful hunters, and they seem to be thriving.

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 22-22-47.png   2.44MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 22-40-02.png   1.67MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 22-40-19.png   1.43MB   0 downloads

 

My Solenopsis sp. colony is about twice as big as it was in my last update, despite not having a queen. Many of the pupae have eclosed, and there's still a lot of brood left.

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 20-47-05.png   2.34MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 20-48-28.png   1.09MB   0 downloads

 

As expected, the Pristomyrmex punctatus colony is growing fast. It's hard to get a clear picture of them because they like to huddle together.

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 23-14-02.png   2.14MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 23-19-10 (2).png   1009.72KB   0 downloads

 

And finally, my four Camponotus japonicus queens are all doing fine, and I'm eagerly awaiting their nanitics.

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-22 20-30-42.png   1.26MB   0 downloads

 

That's all for this update. Thanks for following my ant journal!

 


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#11 Offline Leptomyrmx - Posted May 22 2022 - 10:12 PM

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Update: Army ants! I found an Aenictus sp. colony, but unfortunately couldn't find the queen. I collected some workers so I could observe their behavior. It was fascinating watching them form little bivouacs.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-18-37.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-15-51.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-30-38.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-52-43.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-57-33.png

 

I'm almost certain that I never collected a queen Odontomachus cf. monticola, only workers. However, I recently found that they have a big clutch of eggs of which they seem to be very protective. Could they be unfertilized eggs that will develop into males? Trophic eggs? Or possibly a gamergate? Any insights would be appreciated!

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 23-04-51.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 23-09-39.png

 

I recently collected a beautiful vibrant yellow Pheidole sp. colony which I had never seen before. I thought I only collected one queen, but on closer inspection I collected five!

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-04-26.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-09-42.png

 

Also collected a Pheidole cf. nodus colony, which is very common in my area.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-47-07.png

 

Unfortunately the large ponerine queen with the severed leg, probably Ectomomyrmex astutus, died a day after my previous update. But I managed to catch a new one in her claustral chamber and she has since laid her first egg!

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-11-52.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-16-10.png

 

My Crematogaster sp. colony is doing very well! There are many new callows running around, and the queen has just been pumping out eggs.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 18-46-34.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 18-17-06.png

 

Last time I checked, my Tetramorium cf. caespitum only had four dealates, now there are six dealates with a bunch more queen pupae about to eclose. There must have been some inbreeding going on...

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-53-22.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-52-04.png

 

I've been feeding a bunch of springtails to my Strumigenys sp. colony. They're really successful hunters, and they seem to be thriving.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-22-47.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-40-02.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-40-19.png

 

My Solenopsis sp. colony is about twice as big as it was in my last update, despite not having a queen. Many of the pupae have eclosed, and there's still a lot of brood left.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-47-05.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-48-28.png

 

As expected, the Pristomyrmex punctatus colony is growing fast. It's hard to get a clear picture of them because they like to huddle together.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 23-14-02.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 23-19-10 (2).png

 

And finally, my four Camponotus japonicus queens are all doing fine, and I'm eagerly awaiting their nanitics.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-30-42.png

 

That's all for this update. Thanks for following my ant journal!

 

I'd love to see how the Aenictus go, I'd like to one day (when I have another 10 years of antkeeping experience) keep some.

Bit off topic, but I just realised it's you making Antkeeper! I've been watching the website over the last few months, I'll definitely get it when it comes out.


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My Ants:

Colonies: Camponotus humilior 1w, Opisthopsis rufithorax 11w, Aphaenogaster longiceps ~5w, Pheidole sp. ~235w ~15m, Iridomyrmex sp. 2q 1w, Brachyponera lutea 6w, Crematogaster sp. ~20w, Podomyrma sp. 1w

Queens: Polyrhachis cf. robinsoni, Polyrhachis (Campomyrma) sp. (likely infertile)

Previously Kept: Colobopsis gasseri, Technomyrmex sp., Rhytidoponera victorae, Nylanderia cf. rosae, Myrmecia brevinoda/forficata, Polyrhachis australis, Solenopsis/Monomorium

Key: Q = Queen, W = Worker, M = Major

Youtube Channel: Ants of Sydney - YouTube

Patreon (for YouTube channel): https://www.patreon.com/antsofsydney


#12 Offline cjhoward - Posted May 23 2022 - 7:20 PM

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Update: Army ants! I found an Aenictus sp. colony, but unfortunately couldn't find the queen. I collected some workers so I could observe their behavior. It was fascinating watching them form little bivouacs.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-18-37.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-15-51.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-30-38.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-52-43.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 21-57-33.png

 

I'm almost certain that I never collected a queen Odontomachus cf. monticola, only workers. However, I recently found that they have a big clutch of eggs of which they seem to be very protective. Could they be unfertilized eggs that will develop into males? Trophic eggs? Or possibly a gamergate? Any insights would be appreciated!

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 23-04-51.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 23-09-39.png

 

I recently collected a beautiful vibrant yellow Pheidole sp. colony which I had never seen before. I thought I only collected one queen, but on closer inspection I collected five!

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-04-26.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-09-42.png

 

Also collected a Pheidole cf. nodus colony, which is very common in my area.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-47-07.png

 

Unfortunately the large ponerine queen with the severed leg, probably Ectomomyrmex astutus, died a day after my previous update. But I managed to catch a new one in her claustral chamber and she has since laid her first egg!

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-11-52.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-16-10.png

 

My Crematogaster sp. colony is doing very well! There are many new callows running around, and the queen has just been pumping out eggs.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 18-46-34.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 18-17-06.png

 

Last time I checked, my Tetramorium cf. caespitum only had four dealates, now there are six dealates with a bunch more queen pupae about to eclose. There must have been some inbreeding going on...

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-53-22.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-52-04.png

 

I've been feeding a bunch of springtails to my Strumigenys sp. colony. They're really successful hunters, and they seem to be thriving.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-22-47.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-40-02.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 22-40-19.png

 

My Solenopsis sp. colony is about twice as big as it was in my last update, despite not having a queen. Many of the pupae have eclosed, and there's still a lot of brood left.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-47-05.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-48-28.png

 

As expected, the Pristomyrmex punctatus colony is growing fast. It's hard to get a clear picture of them because they like to huddle together.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 23-14-02.pngattachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 23-19-10 (2).png

 

And finally, my four Camponotus japonicus queens are all doing fine, and I'm eagerly awaiting their nanitics.

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot 2022-05-22 20-30-42.png

 

That's all for this update. Thanks for following my ant journal!

 

I'd love to see how the Aenictus go, I'd like to one day (when I have another 10 years of antkeeping experience) keep some.

Bit off topic, but I just realised it's you making Antkeeper! I've been watching the website over the last few months, I'll definitely get it when it comes out.

 

Aenictus are amazing! I'm going to try to find a queen if I can, though I'm sure it will be difficult to both find and keep.

 

Yes, I'm the one making Antkeeper! Thanks for taking an interest! I haven't updated the screenshots or website much recently, but there's been a lot of progress and some great stuff coming soon :D


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#13 Offline Manitobant - Posted May 24 2022 - 10:08 AM

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If you plan to keep army ants, i would check out some of the neivamyrmex journals on this forum. They are basically the North American version of aenictus and the care requirements should be very similar.
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#14 Offline cjhoward - Posted May 25 2022 - 5:57 AM

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If you plan to keep army ants, i would check out some of the neivamyrmex journals on this forum. They are basically the North American version of aenictus and the care requirements should be very similar.

Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely do some reading.


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#15 Offline cjhoward - Posted May 26 2022 - 5:09 AM

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Update: Caught an Aenictus queen! I went back to the mountain where I found the workers, and found a queen and colony a few hundred meters away. I flipped a rock and she was on the underside right in the middle. She only has a few hundred workers, so it's possible she's a new queen. She also doesn't appear to be physogastric, but laid an egg right in front of me (second photo).

 

Attached File  Screenshot 2022-05-26 17-40-33.png   2.57MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-26 17-49-14.png   1.75MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-26 17-45-48.png   1.67MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-26 16-49-00.png   2.22MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-26 17-16-18.png   1.44MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-26 17-53-30.png   1.42MB   0 downloadsAttached File  Screenshot 2022-05-26 17-38-28.png   1012.61KB   0 downloads

 

Now I'm attempting to build a network of nests for them. They seem to be happy with the Pheidole brood I've given them. Does anyone know if it's possible to freeze brood items as a long term food supply for them? I can find a lot of Pheidole and Tetramorium brood right now, and would like to stockpile some reserves for them if possible.


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#16 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted May 26 2022 - 10:01 AM

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Incredible! Army ants are so unique. I don't know much about army ants, so this might seem like a dumb question, but isn't a few hundred workers a lot?


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#17 Offline cjhoward - Posted May 26 2022 - 10:47 AM

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Incredible! Army ants are so unique. I don't know much about army ants, so this might seem like a dumb question, but isn't a few hundred workers a lot?

A few hundred is probably around a minimum colony size for army ants. Some Aenictus species are known to have a population of 80,000, and Dorylus can have 20,000,000. One reason for the large numbers is that rather than a queen starting a colony from scratch, new army ant colonies are usually started through fission, where one colony splits into two or more colonies, with each queen going separate directions and taking a portion of the workforce with her. It's possible the colony I found recently split off from another colony.


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making an ant colony simulation game - https://antkeeper.com


#18 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted May 26 2022 - 10:53 AM

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Epic! Keep up the good work, hope they do well.


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#19 Offline Manitobant - Posted June 8 2022 - 9:50 AM

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If the colony is indeed recently split, there is a chance that the queen is not fully mated. Army ant queens need to mate with multiple males in the first 6 months of their life in order to become fully fertile.

Edited by Manitobant, June 8 2022 - 5:25 PM.

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#20 Offline Kaelwizard - Posted June 8 2022 - 3:21 PM

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If the colony is indeed recently split, there is a chance that the queen is not fully mated. Army ant queens need mate with multiple males in the first 6 months of their life in order to become fully fertile.

Let's hope that's not the case, I really want to see where this goes.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: crematogaster, pristomyrmex, odontomachus, monomorium, camponotus, tetramorium

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