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My first ants, Pogonomyrmex Occidentalis

journal pogonomyrmex occidentalis

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163 replies to this topic

#161 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 29 2024 - 6:26 PM


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There is so much we don’t know about ants, and captive ants in particular. This may just be one of those mysteries you never fully solve. I find nematodes highly unlikely, though, since you carefully sterilize foods. As long as births outpace deaths, they will be fine.
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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.

#162 Offline BleepingBleepers - Posted February 4 2024 - 9:35 PM


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Have always enjoyed your journal. Also want to say thanks for stopping by on my journals or posts and giving some insight and comments, whether it be for fun or ant-ucational purposes.


I hope you figure out the issue with your ants.


Something just popped into my mind, just throwing an idea out there so don't ask me about the scientific bases that it's based on as there's none, but the chewing of the foil......would there ever be issue of them ingesting it somehow, hence the possibility of it also mixing with other stuff and forming that black stuff in your ants somehow? Just saying, no clue, always thought it was kinda interesting honestly.


Again, if it was me, I'd prob send a sample to some entomologist / myrmecologists and probably be interested in buying a microscope and checking it out, would be fascinating and useful to us ant keepers that may come across your issue in the future as well.


Anyhow, GL and best wishes, hope everything goes well or gets better with the issue.

JOURNAL: Camponotus CA02 - First Time At Ant Keeping CLICK HERE

JOURNAL: Ectomomyrmex cf. astutus - Ant Species #2 CLICK HERE

#163 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted February 5 2024 - 12:31 PM


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^ Thanks, and thanks for keeping your journals too.


On foil:

I once gave them a single ply unfolded bit of foil. When i looked in a couple hours later, it was missing about 15% or so, just  torn off in chunks. Which i never found anywhere.

But that was one time only and some time ago now. On all the folded foil bits that are several layers thick they never tear it apart, just dent it up but nothing ever torn off. So i don't think they are eating it. I do make sure to fold it so that single ply layers are not on the outside but folded up internally. Though honestly that's to scratch my OCD itch, wasn't thinking of them in that until after the single ply experiment.




I spent about three days scrutinizing the colony, and culling ants that had any oddities to them. Notably ones with a seemingly off distribution of internal blackening/discoloring in their gasters.
Among them so far i have found a few younger (lighter coloring) workers that were dying and clearly had very wrong gaster coloring.
I have preserved some of them in alcohol, in case i come into contact with the right biology field people or obtain a microscope of my own.


The colony appears to be doing fine, and i just imagine that they look at me differently, now that the true nature of our relationship has been revealed.



Yesterday i removed one ant(to the alcohol preserve) after not culling any for a few days. It was one of the few younger ones i found dying of whatever this is with an obviously wrong coloring internal to their gaster.


But only having seen a few of those and removing them quickly, I feel like it means they are not too bad off and getting better....maybe?

I figure as long as the queen is not infected, and if this is something just passing through. Then the colony can weather whatever this is.


Still would be nice to have knowledge and not be acting on best guesses here.



On the lighter side, the colony seems mostly fine despite my imprisonment, and continuing to grow with a large brood pile that turns out about 10+ new workers a week.

They continue to "play" with foil. Here they are going in for some fancy cat food, but you can see they decorated the fake succulent there on the right.



Their nest has at least 4 chambers of dried apple larder at any given time for a while now. Once they got to a >X size, they became really aggressive about cutting up and stashing apple. So i wanted to stop giving it to them as much and needed a sugar alternative for the adults.

So i got them sunburst for the first time.


They do drink it form the dispensers, but they also stuff dirt in them and they clog up kinda fast. I found they go after it the most if i just put a drop or two on a dish for them.



I do have to keep an eye on it, as it gets sticky quickly with the water evaporating. Sometimes an ant will get stuck in it. But then i just use the blunt tip and squirt a little water on the sticky spot. The ant is instantly unstuck, the water absorbs the sugar, and the ants go nuts for it all over again. Without adding more sunburst, just water. I flip a tray out once a day for them now.


Foraging that fancy cat food for the brood.



FYI technically it is cat food, but like fancy pants high quality stuff that's basically pate' for cats. My friend's cats turned their noses up at it so now my ants eat it. You'd be an idiot to pay this much for Ant food, do not buy this for your ants. But mostly cause i want to imagine my ants are super deluxe special and eat better food than all other ants. ; )

Edited by Full_Frontal_Yeti, February 5 2024 - 12:36 PM.

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#164 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted February 21 2024 - 9:07 AM


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As far as i can tell, whatever pathogen killed those younger ants turning their gastors back/white inside is not still around.


As well the die off rate seems ot have lowered a little, in terms of how many dead ants i notice each day.
It gets fairly macob to see them drink the juices from their dead sisters dismembered body parts. So if i notice a dead/dying ant I remove them. Which keeps me in tune with their die off rate. And i inspect them close these days for anything being off.


As far as i can tell everything is A ok in the colony.



I found they generally prefer real apple to the sunburst if i put both out at once. The apple will be busy while the sunburst is only occasionally sampled.

But if the sunburst is out on its own they get in for it. NOTE: in image below the apple is 2 day old dry while sunburst is fresh.


I also find they show more interest in the sunburst when i put a drop or two on a dish rather than leave it out in liquid feeders.

I wind up with a bit of interaction feeding them a drop of sunburst, and needing to keep an eye out for when it gets sticky as ants get trapped in even a thin film of it.

But adding a drip or two of water releases them and brings on a new crowd to drink the still sweet but now watered down sunburst.


I go back and forth all day, drip of sunburst, drips of water, drip of sunburst, drips of water. Removing the dish at night before bed.






And then something really special. I didn't notice this for a couple months maybe, and now i see it every time and sometimes it still gets me.


Oh no, an Anole got in here and is about to eat my ants!!!!




I mean that so got me the first time i noticed it. Clearly Mack at THA saw that and positioned it just right to be seen here. Like all optical illusions it works from just the right viewing angle, and reveals itself for what it is from others.



OMG it's just freaking perfect and i am amazed every time i see it.

Anole invader.



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