Jump to content

  • Chat

Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

* * * * * 1 votes

Kowal's Lasius fuliginosus

lasius fuliginosus lasius fuliginosus kartonówka kartonówki

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Kowal - Posted May 8 2022 - 8:23 AM



  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • LocationWarsaw, Poland

Another journal which is a repost of my journal on a small Polish forum. 

First season
I've caught a queen of Lasius fuliginosus genus on, most likely, 2020.06.11. The next day I dug out some Lasius niger pupae and few workers, separated them and placed queen with pupae:
Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_1.jpg   288.01KB   2 downloads


Few hours later I introduced the workers too. I took too few workers, I should've taken 1 worker per 5-10 pupae.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_2.jpg   132.55KB   2 downloads



The queen started laying eggs, her abdomen became swollen a bit:

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_3.jpg   114.64KB   2 downloads



All the L. niger pupae are already enclosed or rejected. All the L. fuliginosus eggs have hatched, no new eggs appear, colony has reached stagnation.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_4.jpg   157.63KB   2 downloads


Colony was placed in the fridge on 2020.09.17 and taken out on 2020.11.21 with short periods in coldest place in my room before and after fridge hibernation.

Second season

Overwintering larvae became hungry in late December/January. 

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_5.jpg   120.25KB   2 downloads



Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_6.jpg   124.61KB   2 downloads



First pupae became ready to enclose. This is a critical stage of Lasius fuliginosus development - Lasius niger are known to be a poor host when it comes to opening pupae. If they fail to open any, the colony is doomed. They HAVE to open at least one so that it can free other L. fuliginosus workers. 
When a L. fuliginosus pupa is overdue, the worker inside tries to cut out way through the shell. It reminds me of a walrus, as it looks like a blob with two mandibles sticking out. The video shows that happening.


Some of the pupae were laying around half open, with worker fully hardened inside but unable to get out completely. Fortunately few days later a Lasius fuliginosus worker was walking free of its shell.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_8.jpg   139.91KB   2 downloads


Soon the colony had lots of Lasius fuliginosus workers. The colony seemingly stopped growing - but in fact the L. fuliginosus population was growing inside, they have just been replacing Lasius niger workers. I haven't seen them killing each other, but somehow the L. niger population quickly collapsed within the colony.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_9.jpg   141.26KB   2 downloads


I have caught another L. fuliginosus queen. I prepared a test tube with very small opening - so only workers could pass through it - in attempt of replicating BartTPs method of introducing new queens. The goal is to allow foragers to make contact with new queen without letting her reach the main nest, where nest guardians would execute her. She would be let out only when she would be covered with workers like the the old queen. 
Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_10.jpg   173.36KB   2 downloads



The new queen didn't get much attention, but I've caught one moment when she was being fed.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_11.jpg   685.81KB   2 downloads



Still no workers being constantly tending to the new queen. She had enough of it and broke out of the test tube and immidiately had entered the main tube, where she was met with mixed reactions - most of the workers ignored her, some fed her when asked for food and few were chasing her, attacking her legs. When I was leaving to work no worker was attacking her anymore and she seemed to be gaining attention. Unfortunately I found her dead several hours later - I suspect she came too close to the entrance and attracted the guards. 


There was a new nest attached for few weeks. Some foragers were visiting it, but it was generally ignored. On this day I have noticed they moved almost all of the colony to the new nest. Only the queen with a group of workers were still in the tube.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_12.jpg   171.75KB   2 downloads

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_13.jpg   92.46KB   2 downloads



They have segregated the brood by size in the new nest. Also one room became a dedicated pupation station.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_14.jpg   40.49KB   2 downloads

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_15.jpg   155.46KB   2 downloads



The nest is getting crowded, but ants have decided to use two segments as garbage sites. Instead of cleaning them they prefer to occupy empty test tubes in the outworld.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_16.jpg   198.5KB   2 downloads

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_17.jpg   181.79KB   2 downloads



I put the nest into my fridge. All the workers moved into the nest. Later counting had shown that there was over 1000 workers at that time. No Lasius niger workers were present. While cleaning the outworld I've picked two workers to show that L. fuliginosus have workers of slightly varying size - especially the head size can be different.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_20.jpg   181.27KB   2 downloads

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_19.jpg   140.97KB   2 downloads


Third season

In this year I've placed the nest inside a new outworld and attached a new nest made out of cork and partially filled with rotting wood (oak, birch and pine). I wanted them to build their famous fungus-cardboard nest, they never built anything even though they had some wood/cork available before. This didn't work too, it most likely died early.

They have been taken out of the fridge on 2022.01.27. Three days later they have been placed in new outworld and quickly rushed to investigate new areas, especially new nest - but they didn't inhabit it immidiately, sometimes there was just few workers, sometimes hundreds with a bit of brood.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_21.jpg   341.11KB   2 downloads

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_22.jpg   346.22KB   2 downloads



First food of this season.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_24.jpg   339.9KB   2 downloads



Fist pupae of this season.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_25.jpg   393.21KB   2 downloads




Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_26.jpg   538.69KB   2 downloads



Almost all of overwintering larvae had already pupated and hatched. The queen was busy laying eggs, her abdomen is so physogastric I am surprised she hasn't popped like a pimple yet. Due to barely any larvae present the colony is a bit lazy.

Attached File  Lasius_fuliginosus_27.jpg   374.99KB   2 downloads

Edited by Kowal, May 8 2022 - 8:38 AM.

  • Manitobant, NickAnter and UtahAnts like this

#2 Offline Kowal - Posted May 8 2022 - 8:45 AM



  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • LocationWarsaw, Poland


Somehow the queen seems to be even fatter.

Attached File  20220505_224443_1.jpg   358.97KB   2 downloads



Finally some fresh photos - photos of both of their nests:

Attached File  20220508_182452_1.jpg   585.04KB   2 downloads

Attached File  20220508_182902_1.jpg   595.08KB   2 downloads

#3 Offline OiledOlives - Posted May 8 2022 - 9:37 AM


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 534 posts
  • LocationVirginia

Beautiful colony! This species is in my top 10 world species for sure.

  • NickAnter likes this

#4 Offline Kowal - Posted June 12 2022 - 9:59 AM



  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • LocationWarsaw, Poland

Colony has outgrown both nests. Well, technically, there is still lots of room in the cork one, but they didn't dig in it. They have started using tubing as nesting space, then they have built some (fungiless) structures under the acryllic nest, which was an obvious sign that they have no intention of expanding the cork nest. I ordered Wrocław from Anthillshop.pl (20x20x2 cm nesting space minus the watering chambers) and decorated with red clay:

Attached File  20220530_113731_1.jpg   294.93KB   2 downloads


Workers have scouted it immidiately, but it didn't get much attention for few days. On 2022.06.05 I have spotted first group of workers just hanging around in it rather than scouting, two days later they have moved most of the cork nest in here:

Attached File  20220607_084748_1.jpg   381.01KB   2 downloads


Current (2022.06.12) state of the nests:

Attached File  20220612_173820_1.jpg   408.82KB   2 downloads

Attached File  20220612_173833_1.jpg   497.98KB   2 downloads

There's also a lot of workers living directly in the outworld, they have apparently nested in some existing cavities in cork bark, I can also see a mass of workers underneath it. They've used some of the red clay to expand structures under acryllic nest. 

Meanwhile the nuptial flights of Lasius fuliginosus have started. I've managed to catch/buy 11 queens (10 of which were caught within 1 or 2 km from original queens capture point, the other one was still in the same city). I've placed them in test tubes with plastic plugs, in which I cut holes small enough for workers to pass, but not the queen. Said tubes were placed within outworld. They have been met with mixed reactions - some workers were ignoring them, some were feeding them, some were biting them or dragging them around. Two of them have managed to squeeze through their holes and reached one of the nests - where they were quickly executed by ants guarding the entrances. I've tried introducing two of them to the new nest from backside, to trick the guarding ants, but it didn't work too. Others died out in the tubes, maybe from hunger, maybe from being choked to death - I don't know. For now there is just one last queen alive and she's still getting mixed reactions, but the trophallaxis is more frequent and longer, like she's actually getting fed and not only given a taste.

Attached File  20220612_191018.jpg   119.07KB   2 downloads

Original queen is still alive.

  • ANTdrew likes this

#5 Offline Kowal - Posted August 6 2022 - 5:03 AM



  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • LocationWarsaw, Poland

I haven't wrote anything in a while, a lot has happened in the meantime. 
First of all, the last fresh queen has died. I haven't found all the bodies, as some ran away from their tubes, but there was no sight of a second queen anywhere in the nest. But their death wasn't in vain - it seems workers managed to retrieve conidia from inrabuccal pockets of the queens, as few days after presenting first new queens their activity around the big piece of bark in the outworld increased. Soon I have noticed that in one place they've started doing... something. It was a construction made out of clay pellets, pieces of cotton and general woody debris. It wasn't grown through with fungus, but later I found they have been building the carton structures underneath the bark piece!

Attached File  20220623_233741_1.jpg   515.13KB   2 downloads

Attached File  20220624_225334_1.jpg   89.3KB   2 downloads

Attached File  20220702_140257_1.jpg   210.05KB   2 downloads


Unfortunately I had to destroy it all, as the outworld became more and more infested with booklice. It was partially caused by me being not too consistent with cleaning and partially by ants, which had been sticking dead ants in areas I couldn't reach nor see. At some point, when booklice became escaping outside of the outworld, dozens a day, threatening other colonies, my books and furniture I have decided to become more radical. At first I removed most of decorations from the outworld and vacuum cleaned hundreds of dead ants and pieces of feeder insects. Later I have decided to completely wipe this outworld. I have prepared a new one and started disturbing ants living in/under the bark piece so they would move to the proper nest. In the process I could see well their construction. As I've raised the bark I noticed that that queen is living in that part of the setup, so I just left the bark lifted with some tweezers:

Attached File  20220706_150958_1.jpg   265.39KB   2 downloads

I have also dismantled the small, acryllic nest. Before unscrewing the screws I took some photos with underlight - I love how this photo turned out, white acryllic diffused light so nicely:

Attached File  20220702_220556_1.jpg   680.3KB   2 downloads

On 2022.07.07 I have spotted the queen inside the nest, which was the signal I could start scrapping the old outworld:

Attached File  20220707_152415_1.jpg   231.63KB   2 downloads

The new outworld is more simplistic, this time I have decided to not give ants any places they could potentially hide trash from me. Unfortunately clay has not dried yet and they immidiately began digging underneath the stone, which I intended to be their feeding place:

Attached File  20220706_182832_1.jpg   477.47KB   2 downloads


After disconnecting old outworld and connecting the new one I started taking out workers from the old one... one by one. It was a tedious work, in few hours I moved few hundreds or a thousand of them, but last 200ish workers were hiding in pieces of bark too much, so I left them in there. I have taken pieces of fungus structures, cleaned them of any booklice and placed them in the new outworld and then baked the old outworld to kill any booklice left.

Unfortunately the rescued structures, even though they've seen lots of attention at first, were abandoned and I again have no fungus in this colony.

Attached File  20220716_192951_1.jpg   378.83KB   2 downloads


I have continued adding new queens (with no results), just a few of them as their main flights have already ended. 

2022.07.19 Some eggs:

Attached File  20220719_214007_1.jpg   204.74KB   2 downloads


On 2022.08.04 I have cleaned the outworld a bit and found some dead queen bodies. At first I wasn't bothered, as I was adding new queens, but... I have counted one more dead body than I added queens. I began searching for the queen in the nest, but I couldn't spot her. Usually she's either visible or is covered by lots of workers, so any big pile of them is suspicious. I couldn't see her anywhere... no worker balls in sight, no queen. I began panicking and decided to lift the rock. More than a thousand workers have poured out, but again - no queen in sight. I was feeling down and started to accept it's the end, but in late evening of the next day (2022.08.05) I found one ball of workers in the nest, which after being disturbed (by heating the area with a finger) revealed the queen! She's really thin, most likely done with laying eggs for this season, but she's alive!

Attached File  20220805_233822.jpg   138.58KB   2 downloads

I still have no idea where the extra body came from. Did I count incorrectly?

Here's current nest overview:

Attached File  20220805_234352_1.jpg   512.4KB   2 downloads

Edited by Kowal, August 6 2022 - 5:14 AM.

  • ANTdrew likes this

#6 Offline Kowal - Posted November 27 2022 - 11:49 AM



  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • LocationWarsaw, Poland

Sooo... you remember when I changed the outworld as a method of flighting booklice? It happened again. Long story short - plain, simple and boring outworlds are also the least problematic ones. Booklice will devour any plant matter and ant trash they find, and Lasius fuliginosus are pretty good at sticking the latter into the former. Their new new outworld is just plain clay with one rock in the middle, without any fancy decorative cracks in the clay, just... ground. At least there is no plant matter and I can find where the ant trash is being thrown away so I can clean it. The new outworld was connected on 8.09.2022.

7.09.2022 I have taken a timelapse of two larvae spinning their cocoons:


10.09 queen has shared a glimpse of her royal butt:

Attached File  20220910_011736_1.jpg   369.16KB   1 downloads

More and more ants started residing in the outworld rather than in the nest, even though there were empty rooms (and rooms filled with clay & trash ants were definitely not willing to clean). They started making bivouacs in form of balls of workers huddling together. I have placed two plastic test tubes, which were ignored. Then I replaced them with glass one and they inhabited it - but still made those bivouacs, even when more tubes were added.

Attached File  20220930_112631_1.jpg   503.28KB   1 downloads
Attached File  20220927_212820_1.jpg   423.31KB   1 downloads
This meant only one thing - they needed a new nest. I have ordered a large soil nest (roughly 30x20x2 cm internal space), filled it with sand and clay mixture, attached it on 5.10.2022 aaaand... it was inspected, few tunnels were dug through it but making bivouacs was still preferred over doing some actual work and digging new nesting space  :facepalm: 

So, back when I scrapped the outworld with fungus structures in it I recovered bits of it and placed it in the new outworld. One piece saw some attempts of reconstruction, but generally I considered the fungus story being over before scrapping the new outworld and attaching the new new one. On 12.10.2022 I've noticed that one of clay space dividers my L. fuliginosus did in the nest was covered with something. IDK what it is, but it's the most fungusy thing I've seen them do since scrapping of the old outworld.

Attached File  20221013_000810.jpg   281.59KB   1 downloads

On 23.10.2022 I have found a single dead male without his head. Maybe he was supposed to be part of spring alate production, but mistakenly he was allowed to pupate too early?
Attached File  20221023_184506.jpg   144.71KB   1 downloads

The colony was clearly heading towards diapause. I have placed the colony in a colder place mid November. That temperature change finally triggered them to dig in the soil nest  :facepalm:I let them dig for a while and when I noticed the digging activity to drop I disassembled the setup and placed both nests in my fridge on 27.11.2022.
Attached File  20221125_121220_1.jpg   401.47KB   1 downloads

Attached File  20221127_152133_1.jpg   596.83KB   1 downloads


Bonus: Lasius fuliginosus react to smell of drying mushrooms (Imleria badia) by running around in full alert mode. https://imgur.com/a/FsRLJMI

  • ANTdrew likes this

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: lasius, fuliginosus, lasius fuliginosus, kartonówka, kartonówki

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users