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What's up with this one ant in the colony?


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#1 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted January 21 2023 - 7:08 PM

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I just got a colony of pogonomyrmex occidentalis. And i have one ant among the rest that looks a lighter color, is a bit bigger,  and behaves different than the rest.

 

Once they found the larger outworld they have not left it yet. They stayed there overnight, they don't do any worker work, they just hang out.

What's up with this ant?

whodis.jpg

 

thanks for any time you can spare


Edited by Full_Frontal_Yeti, January 21 2023 - 7:11 PM.


#2 Offline FinWins - Posted January 21 2023 - 9:41 PM

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It is a solider, although P. Occidentalis don't display polymorphism they can have larger and smaller workers, but the proportions stay the same.


I keep: Acromyrmex versicolor :D, C. modoc, C. sansabeanus, C. clarithorax, C. maritimus, Formica argentea, M. mexicanus, Odontomachus brunneus :D, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, 

 


#3 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted January 21 2023 - 10:44 PM

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It is a solider, although P. Occidentalis don't display polymorphism they can have larger and smaller workers, but the proportions stay the same.

oh awesome. i had thought they would all just be workers that didn't have any differentiation other than a minor body size range. Neat to know there could be some amount of that going on even if it's not as pronounced as a poly species.

thanks



#4 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted January 22 2023 - 7:06 AM

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Your colony has started producing full size workers, or close to it. She looks rather fresh still, so that's probably why she isn't doing much work .

#5 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted January 22 2023 - 10:30 AM

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Your colony has started producing full size workers, or close to it. She looks rather fresh still, so that's probably why she isn't doing much work .

She was with the colony when they arrived, and has not really darkened by remains slightly lighter, and don't do any work at all, just hangs out. She did eventually find her way back to the nest after two days in the outworld. And now she just hangs out in the nest, mostly on the ceiling where it's hard to find her. But whenever she's moving around she stands out among the crowd. I noted when she goes to the apple dish, she's way more into licking the dish itself and seldom goes after the apple directly. They've woken up at least 4 workers that i've seen and they go to work pretty quick once they start moving around. Three days now this one is the odd ball in the bunch.

It is that she never appeared to get darker like the rest that really makes her stand out the most, though she is obviously larger too.



#6 Offline FinWins - Posted January 22 2023 - 7:28 PM

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I’ve noticed that Pogonomyrmex take longer to harden then most other species.


I keep: Acromyrmex versicolor :D, C. modoc, C. sansabeanus, C. clarithorax, C. maritimus, Formica argentea, M. mexicanus, Odontomachus brunneus :D, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, 

 


#7 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted January 24 2023 - 8:57 AM

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Just a little update on this one.

She has remained the same color and continues to have no worker behavior, but just hangs out.
She can be seen eating apple from time to time but never touches seeds or bugs.
When there is a large response to a bug feeding she will come to that but not touch the bug. She just hags out for a while until the initial frenzy dies down. And then goes back to her slow roaming around the nest or outworld areas, just seemingly on on patrol as it were.


I now call her Meg, being the only uniquely identifiable one in the bunch, and that i had been thinking of her as The Mega from her clearly bigger size.
So from her behaviors i guess she is the soldier here among them, just being on patrol. Whatever she is she clearly don't see herself as a common worker.

Edited by Full_Frontal_Yeti, January 24 2023 - 8:58 AM.


#8 Offline Serafine - Posted January 24 2023 - 9:37 AM

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Regarding food responses i can see similar behavior in my Camponotus barbaricus majors. Usually it's the mid-sized workers that are the most aggressive attackers while the larger majors run around the place and sometimes really seem to set up/patrol a perimeter around the food source (probably to keep away rival ants). They occasionally come in after the bug is downed and help to break it up.


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#9 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted February 2 2023 - 4:01 PM

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OK mystery ant is still mysterious. I just been over all enthralled by the colony, so it took me a while to look more closely at Meg here. She was the mega ant so being the only uniquely identifiable one she got a name.

I had posted a better image of her in my journal that i took on arrival day.

post-7513-0-14384900-1674356162.jpg

And another one i took just now:

megwho.jpg

 

 

Total noob here but i'm not sure she is Pogonomyrmex Occidentalis(image from ant wiki below).

250px-Pogonomyrmex_occidentalis_casent00

not seeing the offset jaw, nor any hump/scar area where the antennae would once have been. As well her size  and color is part of how she is so easy to spot instantly where ever she is.

 

I figured out that likely the lack of her antennae explains a lot of her odd behavior relative to the rest of the colony.

Though the other day when i dumped some black chia seeds in she went total work horse on hauling them back to the nest.

 

What's up wiht this one ant? Is she Pogonomyrmex Occidentalis for sure just without her antennae is kind of out of the normal colony loop? Did she hitch a ride from a different colony somehow? If so what type of ant is she and how has the colony adopted her?


Edited by Full_Frontal_Yeti, February 2 2023 - 4:04 PM.


#10 Offline UrbanOrganisms - Posted February 2 2023 - 7:17 PM

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Probably a boosted worker



#11 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted February 3 2023 - 8:29 AM

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Probably a boosted worker


Too noob to know what that means, "boosted worker?"
Like she's been juicing?

Edited by Full_Frontal_Yeti, February 3 2023 - 8:30 AM.


#12 Offline LowQualityAnts - Posted February 3 2023 - 8:46 AM

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It means she was taken from another colony in the same species or genus while in pupal form and given to the colony you have. The colonies scent imprints on the brood so when they eclose they act like a normal worker.

#13 Offline Miles - Posted February 3 2023 - 8:46 AM

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Howdy, myrmecologist here!

 

What you're seeing is an ant which did not develop properly, probably as a result of an issue with a hormone during development. As you've said, the morphology of the ant is wrong -- most notably, it is lacking antennae (and likely will die soon as a result) and its proportions are abnormal. Juvenile growth hormone regulates body size and morphology, and even slight variability in the timing and quantity of this hormone can throw an insects' development off.

 

This is not another species, nor does it provide any evidence that the ant was "boosted" (in ant keeping, "boosting" refers to when brood of one colony is given to another to raise as their own). I assume you got this colony from Tar Heel Ants (?), and their policy is to not boost P. occidentalis. That disclaimer is clearly provided on their website. There have been many documented instances of weird developmental issues in ants, the strangest of which includes specimens with male and female features.

 

If you are interested in contributing this specimen to science, please reach out to me and we can arrange to have it sent to our lab at the University of Florida. Specimens like these can help us to understand anomalies in insect development.

 

Cheers,

 

Miles


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#14 Offline antsriondel - Posted February 3 2023 - 10:17 AM

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Howdy, myrmecologist here!

 

What you're seeing is an ant which did not develop properly, probably as a result of an issue with a hormone during development. As you've said, the morphology of the ant is wrong -- most notably, it is lacking antennae (and likely will die soon as a result) and its proportions are abnormal. Juvenile growth hormone regulates body size and morphology, and even slight variability in the timing and quantity of this hormone can throw an insects' development off.

 

This is not another species, nor does it provide any evidence that the ant was "boosted" (in ant keeping, "boosting" refers to when brood of one colony is given to another to raise as their own). I assume you got this colony from Tar Heel Ants (?), and their policy is to not boost P. occidentalis. That disclaimer is clearly provided on their website. There have been many documented instances of weird developmental issues in ants, the strangest of which includes specimens with male and female features.

 

If you are interested in contributing this specimen to science, please reach out to me and we can arrange to have it sent to our lab at the University of Florida. Specimens like these can help us to understand anomalies in insect development.

 

Cheers,

 

Miles

Wow, did not know that was possible.



#15 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted February 6 2023 - 9:49 AM

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Howdy, myrmecologist here!

 

What you're seeing is an ant which did not develop properly, probably as a result of an issue with a hormone during development. As you've said, the morphology of the ant is wrong -- most notably, it is lacking antennae (and likely will die soon as a result) and its proportions are abnormal. Juvenile growth hormone regulates body size and morphology, and even slight variability in the timing and quantity of this hormone can throw an insects' development off.

 

This is not another species, nor does it provide any evidence that the ant was "boosted" (in ant keeping, "boosting" refers to when brood of one colony is given to another to raise as their own). I assume you got this colony from Tar Heel Ants (?), and their policy is to not boost P. occidentalis. That disclaimer is clearly provided on their website. There have been many documented instances of weird developmental issues in ants, the strangest of which includes specimens with male and female features.

 

If you are interested in contributing this specimen to science, please reach out to me and we can arrange to have it sent to our lab at the University of Florida. Specimens like these can help us to understand anomalies in insect development.

 

Cheers,

 

Miles

 

Super deluxe thank you for dropping the knowledge on us here.
Yes this is a TarHeelAnts 20+ colony, and as you say their stated policy is not selling boosted colonies. She arrived with the colony as is, and that close up image of her eating apple was taken within the first couple hours of their arrival.

If you had any questions about the brood environment she was in you'd need to contact them.

She has been doing well, now 2 weeks with me. She gets around, finds food, has engaged in a little normal worker work a couple times, and even got a bath from another ant yesterday.
I DM'd to arrange sending along the MutANT.


Edited by Full_Frontal_Yeti, February 6 2023 - 9:50 AM.





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