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KATLA's Formica Rufa

formica wood ants parasitic

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#1 Offline Katla - Posted December 5 2022 - 2:02 PM

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Hello and welcome on this new journal of mine,

Here i will try to keep up with the young Queen of Formica Rufa i have established this summer.

She has been introduced to a local serviformica i have yet to identify, either formica cunicularia or cinerea. The id wasn't conclusive but would go towards Cunicularia.

 

For those who are not familiar to Formica Rufa, they are well established European species and i think sparsely in North America. So called wood ants, the queens have a tough way to start of if they don't find they way back to the home colony. I am not scientific so i will only express what i have learned so far and experienced my self. I have kept a wild caught Formica Polyctena who sadly did not survive hibernation 2 years ago. For founding stage if as said the queen isn't brought back to the home nest she has to find a suitable host colony of Serviformica infiltrating her by masking her own smell with the pheromones she gathers on the hosts foragers, mostly agressive those foragers won't stay a chance to survive if alone that being said there is also a big chance for the queen to be rapidly overwhelmed by said hosts if for example she got to near from the nest or any uncountable variables.


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(Yes the serviformica colony was well established and i gave her some alate pupae ...)


In my case i didn't have any established serviformica colony where i could have watched how she would take over the colony by killing the resident queen and to be honest i wouldn't keep a colony to offer her queen as a sacrifice either. I have at my disposal a nice garden, mostly inhabited by Lasius, Myrmica, Tetramorium and Solenopsis. About 10 or 15 Years ago being a child i watched all ants present in the garden and clearly recall observing some formica nest counting one only, but they vanished completely for a decade at least, 3 years ago i found a formica foraging around the flowers. Being a great "FAN" of formica i immediately got exited to see an ant i havent seen in my garden for such long time (i must say i just came back from 6 years living 60km from here) so i did what any ant enthusiast does at that point, tracking her way and looking for other foragers. After couple of days i did find the nest seamless hidden in grass and got back to my child behavior i used to better watch those colony's, what was that behavior of mine ? place a clay tile above the nest to use as heat collector which works perfectly, one week later looking beneath the tile they had already dug chambers to store pupae and mature larvae. That was for me a splendid discovery, finding out that one ant species that absolutely disappeared from my garden came back and was already that well established, i mean those girls where al over the place once i just touched the clay roof tile. I got euphoric for at least 3 days carefully watching the nest because as for now the only species that would inhabit the garden and take over every place give was an old Lasius emarginatus colony (when i say old they had a dump place in the cellar where the piled up all trash for years) those ants took over pretty much any species that would try to start a nest around the house. So i kept a close watch over the formicas and did my best to slow the lasius colony starting from spring (yes i did use poison locally to reduce their numbers, which actually worked and obviously didn't hurt to much as they are still pretty active) the formicas did well over spring, lot of brood and adults.

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So i had my best shot at starting a new parasitic Formica colony on my own, before receiving the Rufa queen i caught about 50 pupae and 20 workers, set them all up in a test tube and nourished them slightly. Once the queen arrived i placed the serviformicas in the fridge to calm them down, then introducing 5 workers one by one to my Rufa queen. The first Encounter got rough, but the queen got the uper hand and subdued the first worker allowing me to introduce the second worker which did not attack the Rufa queen, having her now with 5 workers i then saw some cleaning and one trophalaxie which for me meant that she was adopted and recognized as the new queen allowing me to introduce them to the other workers and brood. I settled them a tubs and tubes setup with the original test tubes and a new segmented grouted larger test tube which they choose in a matter of hours.

After two week i saw the first batch of eggs, but the conditions i gave them to not disturb them in any way didn't give me any proper sight of the process and i couldn't identify correctly if the colony had any biological workers. I now estimate that they are about 15 Rufa workers, but it was already late in the summer and they tend to stop any development at that point.

This is so far what i have accomplished with my Rufa queen, i still have to find her a name but i want to wait next spring hoping she will get through and establish her small imperium

 

Long live the Queen
 


Edited by Katla, March 18 2023 - 12:31 PM.

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#2 Offline Katla - Posted December 5 2022 - 2:10 PM

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Next Spring, i will move the colony to a Tarheel Labyrinth nest, I'm not a big fan of the TH outworld so i think of putting it in an Antcube glass foraging enclosure.


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#3 Offline T.C. - Posted December 5 2022 - 8:30 PM

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Good work. Hope all goes well.


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#4 Offline Katla - Posted December 5 2022 - 10:14 PM

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These photos already got posted on my discussion topic but their real place would have been here !

 

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Here you can clearly see what alates i wasted from the host colony... i did miss the flight of that colony but i don't think that it had any great impact.
 

 


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#5 Offline Ant-nig321 - Posted December 6 2022 - 8:08 AM

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So what are you going to do with the alates.

#6 Offline Katla - Posted December 7 2022 - 1:20 AM

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i should have introduced a correct timeline, the alates where dragged out by the workers  and not cared for. So i relesead most of them back in the garden and fed the rest t my meat ants.


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#7 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted January 9 2023 - 4:24 PM

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Update?



#8 Offline Katla - Posted February 13 2023 - 4:37 AM

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Alright hello everyone, 

Nothing breathtaking for an update the Rufa, the colony is still in hibernation and maybe still for a month to go. I introduced one nest mate from THA with some sugar water during their sleep. Outdoor temps are all over the place tho, one week its freezing the other its sunny and temps above 10° Celcius. The ants are getting more active but still only to move towards one side of the tube and cluster together, the queen on the other hand is roaming around a bit more. I will make the next update once the workers are outdoor active again, having a formica nest in the garden i use them as Information on when to start slowly heating them back up.


Edited by Katla, March 18 2023 - 12:32 PM.

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#9 Offline Katla - Posted March 18 2023 - 12:42 PM

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Goday fellow ant passionates 

 

Ending February i took the colony out of its Styropor box and back to ambient room temperatures, put them with my Sanguinea's above the terrarium i heat and keep my exotic / active ants.
The queen started laying eggs starting march and gave a small pile of eggs, since i have placed them back into the incubator terrarium with min constant 27C°.. Eggs did grow into small larvae and the brood pile has grown exponentially with a new batch of egg piles each couple of week. They are not yet as agressive a the Sanguinea are so i tend to drop the dead protein directly into the entrance and one second in the hunting box after some time they gathered both and feed them to the brood and queen. After the next generation i should see some watch posts at the tube entrance aiming gasters at the lid, i need to see if i give the a custom nest when needed or a THA flat Labyrinth i wished i had it padded out with cork or any cellulose to absorb some of the acid. On that note i will also have to find my self some pine resin when it gets crowded.

I leave you here for now with this picture of the main and only of the three chambers used by the colony, tell me if you can spot the biological Rufa workers from the host specimens

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#10 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted March 21 2023 - 8:45 AM

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Nice colony. I cannot see any bio workers



#11 Offline Katla - Posted March 21 2023 - 9:27 AM

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Nice colony. I cannot see any bio workers

 

Then ill be happy to share the coming newborns


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#12 Offline Katla - Posted March 21 2023 - 10:08 AM

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Since last night where i tool the Picture above the larvae have either doubled in size or already pupated. 


Edited by Katla, March 21 2023 - 10:09 AM.

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#13 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted March 22 2023 - 8:45 AM

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Wow! Nice job man.



#14 Offline Katla - Posted April 1 2023 - 10:16 AM

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IMG_20230327_213240_B002.png?width=524&hIMG_20230327_213343_B001.png?width=524&h

And her Majesty herself WHO by the way needs a correct name

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Edited by Katla, April 1 2023 - 10:17 AM.

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#15 Offline Ernteameise - Posted April 1 2023 - 10:22 AM

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Oh wow, she is pretty



#16 Offline Katla - Posted April 1 2023 - 10:30 AM

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And here the all new setup for the nest i added vermiculite and some wood, also added some clay paint on the walls.

 

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impatient to see the first Rufa workers


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#17 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted April 1 2023 - 11:23 AM

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Nice man! I still cannot find any bio workers. How many bio workers does she have?



#18 Offline Katla - Posted April 1 2023 - 11:24 AM

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I'm not sure she has any yet, she got introduced last year. But the current brood is definitely rufa


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#19 Offline BDantsalberta - Posted April 1 2023 - 4:44 PM

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I'm not sure she has any yet, she got introduced last year. But the current brood is definitely rufa

You said in a previous post that she had some host Rufa workers. Rufa is one of my dream species and in the coming year or 2 I will get some from Esthetic ants(most likely him) and will attempt them myself. Super pumped for you man.


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#20 Offline Katla - Posted April 1 2023 - 4:47 PM

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no I introduced to a cinerea host, now she had her first bio brood

Envoyé de mon SM-N9860 en utilisant Tapatalk

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