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NicholasP's Lasius latipes


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#1 Offline NicholasP - Posted August 20 2022 - 7:39 PM

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SHH!!! Do you hear that?... It's the sound of hundreds of thousands of workers marching in unison. Hark! Could I be hearing the thumping and the dragging of a gaster? GASP. No... It can't be... Could it really be the sound of the majestic Lasius latipes? That's way too long of an ant for its size but still somehow manages to walk despite its caboose dragging on the ground at all times. Haha, yes. It really is the majestic Lasius latipes... (Speaks to director out of camera shot) Huh? Oh! Right as I said! It really is the majestic Lasius latipes triumvirate! Marvelous! Splendid! What else could describe Lasius latipes? Grandiose! Spectacular? Camera shy... Well, uh... Nevermind the camera-shy part.

Yes, my friends. I have finally come back to Formiculture with a haul yesterday of 30 queens finally since 2 weeks of catching nothing. I saw yesterday at 6:50 PM for the first time in my life a mass nuptial flight in person. Starting with a flight of what I believe to be Brachymyrmex depillis (which I caught nothing of) and then the most incredible thing I've ever seen. It was at least 200 Lasius brevicornis queens from one colony at the surface starting to take off with their bright orange workers protecting the queens at all costs. At 6:50 they took off one by one and then multiple at a time filling the sky with black specks. It was really beautiful seeing this happen right before my eyes and being inside of the swarm cloud. From then I continued watching and take video recordings until 7:10 when I spotted right next to my left leg a beautiful orange queen that was extremely long. And it was the Latipes queen. From there I decided to run around my yard and scan around for queen and caught some brevicornis queens right in the act of mating. So, I grabbed those and ran out into my neighborhood. At 7:45 I saw one bright orange queen and then another right behind her! I was quick to put them in a ziploc bag and surely enough they were latipes. In the end at 9:00 PM I ended up with 1 Solenopsis molesta group queen, 2 Lasius neoniger queens, 24 Lasius brevicornis queens and finally... 3 lasius latipes queens. I was quick to get them hosts after my friends let me know they barely survive a day or two without hosts and even sometimes a few hours without hosts. So, I got 30 neoniger workers in total since almost all the colonies of neoniger were completely hidden in the ground at this point with no workers foraging so 30 workers was better than nothing. I split 2 Lasius latipes queens into their own group and 1 by herself with workers. I gave 20 workers to the two-queen group and 10 workers to the 1 queen group.

 

Fast forward to the next day, which is today, and I find that almost all hosts are dead. Likely from old age or disease. And worst yet was the two queen latipes group seemed dead with their feet in the air not moving. I was almost to breaking point as this was crushing. "I had looked for this one species for 3 years and I finally got queens just to have all but one die" I said to myself. I scooped the dead queens out of the tube and moved them around carefully in my head as I decided I should at least take in their beauty before preserving them. All of the sudden they both started to move around slowly. But very sluggishly. 1 queen barely moved. I quickly put them back in the tube and decided to look at my single queen colony and half of her workers were dead, but she was very lively. With my prioities now set I decided to first complete my planned trip to the Kalamazoo reptile expo and then when I get back immediately get neoniger workers. Welp, by the time I got back there wasn't much neoniger activity because of rain that fell in the morning, but some colonies (along with brevicornis colonies) were opening up their holes to let queens and males go and I could visually see them in their nests. So, I decided to wait until their flights would start since that's when the workers would be most active. Well, to my utter dismay it started raining an hour later. And by rain, I mean POURING RAIN. I believe around 1/2 an inch. At least the roof of my house got basically a pressure wash from mother nature but that's not what I needed. I needed hosts. Good, non-diseased, neoniger hosts and STAT. So, after the rain I went outside at 9PM to collect workers and luckily there were some along with a Lasius neoniger queen that escaped. So, I got a good 40 something hosts but that's all I could get today.

 

So fast forward to as I'm writing this the single queen latipes colony got most of the workers because she was the strongest and most likely to succeed at this point. I feel bad for the other two but at least I did everything I could. They seem to be a little stronger right now but not by much. Tomorrow I'll get 200 more workers to divide between them all. Thanks for staying around guys and I'll keep you all posted on this wild latipes adventure where I must Lat(appease) these mighty queens. And I'll stop with my horrible puns now. Bye!

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#2 Offline NicholasP - Posted August 22 2022 - 8:48 AM

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Unfortunate news today... All latipes queens have died. I'll be logging the whole process in my pdf for latipes care I'm making but hopefully I can get some more to try again. It's a really nice day today so maybe I'll get lucky.



#3 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted August 23 2022 - 12:54 PM

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Bummer, that species looks so cool.



#4 Offline NicholasP - Posted August 23 2022 - 2:59 PM

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They are very cool. It's unfortunate they're so sensitive to not having workers though.


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#5 Offline NicholasP - Posted September 2 2022 - 7:24 AM

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Alright guys we're back and at it again. I caught 6 latipes queens yesterday so I'll be performing some test and studies on them myself. And I'll be relaying all information to you guys.

 

But one thing I can tell you guys is that I'm never gonna give them up, never gonna let them down, never gonna turn around and, desert them. Ok, no that's not thing I'll be telling you guys. I've observed that sand is needed desperately if latipes get their introductions in test tubes. L. latipes I've observed have the worst grip of any ant species I've ever kept and the only type of nest that I had some remote amount of sucess with was a nest sand coated with hydrostone. Very similar to a leafcutter nest just sandcoated for grip purposes and to make it pretty.

 

Also, I've done the standard with latipes of 10 workers to start them out with. But 30 minutes to an hour later I introduce 50-65 workers more and so then they get really swarmed. I've observed that they seem to get accepted much faster that way than with just a few workers at a time. I still have to keep testing these things I just said but it looks hopeful latipes might turn out to be a fairly easier species than any of us have thought but they need the research of how to found them first.


Edited by NicholasP, September 2 2022 - 7:25 AM.


#6 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted September 2 2022 - 11:59 AM

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What habitat do you catch these in? I am interested in keeping them. I assume it would be the same type of habitat in CA.



#7 Offline NicholasP - Posted September 2 2022 - 2:50 PM

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So, while I can't explain the habitat very well because all my ants are caught in my neighborhoo by houses. I can try to explain what it's like habitatwise. Every house has a grass front lawn and backyard filled with grass. Basically, everything is grass. But behind my house there's a swamp that floods during spring and fall and tons of frogs and Camponotus nearcticus in the swamp. Behind the house there's a powerline and then house behind that powerline. Along the border of the powerline and the swamp there's TONS of ants. Lasius americanus, Acanthomyops species, Dolichoderus, Temnothorax ambiguus in grass reeds, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, Camponotus subbarbatus... Every species you could imagine, and I consider myself lucky for that. But on the grass fields of the front lawns and backyards bordering the swamp there tends to be Lasius brevicornis and I believe Lasius latipes take off either from the swamp or on the border of the swamp by the backyards. So, there's a huge mix of trees, grass, and nice open area. I'll try and find out where the latipes queens take off from to give you a more in depth look into what environment to find them in but that's all I can say since I'm not sure where they come from besides the swamp.


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#8 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted September 2 2022 - 9:46 PM

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So, while I can't explain the habitat very well because all my ants are caught in my neighborhoo by houses. I can try to explain what it's like habitatwise. Every house has a grass front lawn and backyard filled with grass. Basically, everything is grass. But behind my house there's a swamp that floods during spring and fall and tons of frogs and Camponotus nearcticus in the swamp. Behind the house there's a powerline and then house behind that powerline. Along the border of the powerline and the swamp there's TONS of ants. Lasius americanus, Acanthomyops species, Dolichoderus, Temnothorax ambiguus in grass reeds, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, Camponotus subbarbatus... Every species you could imagine, and I consider myself lucky for that. But on the grass fields of the front lawns and backyards bordering the swamp there tends to be Lasius brevicornis and I believe Lasius latipes take off either from the swamp or on the border of the swamp by the backyards. So, there's a huge mix of trees, grass, and nice open area. I'll try and find out where the latipes queens take off from to give you a more in depth look into what environment to find them in but that's all I can say since I'm not sure where they come from besides the swamp.


Lucky, you live in an ant paradise lol. Thanks for the info

#9 Offline NicholasP - Posted November 2 2022 - 7:28 PM

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Unfortunately, these queens all died. But I hope to recontinue this journal next year. Until then, keep loving your ants guys!



#10 Online Ant-nig321 - Posted November 3 2022 - 7:53 AM

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Wait when you caught the hosts,did you just dump them in the test tube with the queen?

#11 Offline NicholasP - Posted November 3 2022 - 11:25 AM

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Wait when you caught the hosts,did you just dump them in the test tube with the queen?

No. But as Lasius latipes use a swarm method to get accepted which is when they purposefully get workers to swarm on them, I decided to do 5 hosts to start the queens out and then a few minutes later some more, and more. And they were fine with the workers. It's that the queens were just too dumb to stay in the nest. They kept wandering out of the nest and stayed outside. So next year I have a better solution to this problem, and I will be making a maze that the queens will struggle to get out of because the queens wandering is what got them killed as the workers tried to feed them, but they kept wandering.






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