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UA's Harvester Journal - 2 species of Pogonomyrmex

journal harvester pogonomyrmex messor seed seeds utah colony

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#1 Offline UtahAnts - Posted January 23 2023 - 5:13 PM

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I'm starting this journal to focus solely on my granivorous colonies. Here's the original journal. At the moment I have two Pogonomyrmex colonies, otherwise known as harvester ants, native to Utah: P. occidentalis and P. rugosus. The timelines of their growth can be found below. I will also be featuring a colony of Messor structor, or reaper ants, which I obtained in a trade from a local keeper.

 

 

Messor Structor -  Reaper Ants

I got this colony a couple of weeks ago in an AC test tube portal with around 60 workers. I attached a small dirt box for them to use as they liked. Of course a few days later they quickly moved into it, and created several large chambers. Currently, the test tube portal is used as the only outworld, and the two water tubes which I left attached are being used as granaries. The colony also stores their famous ant bread in a drier portion of one of the tubes. 

 

A couple quick notes on the species for those not familiar with Messor sp:

  • The colony needs a high humidity zone around 90% humidity to store brood
  • A drier zone around 40% humidity is used for seeds and ant bread
  • Sometimes the ants will allow the seeds to germinate before consumption
  • Workers are polymorphic, with the smallest workers being shorter then the heads of the largest workers
  • Colonies (especially large ones) are very good at chewing through plastic and being destructive in general
  • Max population size of a couple thousand in captivity
  • Messor in general are photophobic, they hate any source of light.
  • Messor have some difficulty climbing, similar to harvester ants in that regard

 

The colony before I got them:

 

319279029 518348800278249 3069997446540508228 N
 
 
The dirt box.
 
IMG 6992

 

 

Current setup:

 

IMG 0663
 
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The bread can be seen to the left of the seeds. 
 
IMG 0688

Edited by UtahAnts, May 29 2023 - 1:43 PM.

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Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#2 Offline UtahAnts - Posted January 23 2023 - 5:16 PM

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Pogonomyrmex occidentalis - Western Harvester Ants

 

A quick timeline of their growth over the last two seasons.

 

August 1, 2021

Nuptial flight

 

Pogonomyrmex Flight
 
September 20, 2021
6 workers and brood
 
pogd
O

 

 

Post-Hibernation
April 5, 2022

7 workers and brood, housed in a THA Genesis test tube insert.

 

IMG 7198
 
 
May 2 
15 workers
 
IMG 7467

 

 

June 12

25 workers

 

IMG 7889
 
 
August 5
40 workers 
 
gallery 5683 2157 423721

 

 

October 9

75 workers - moved to new nest

 

IMG 8556
IMG 8532
 
 
January 2023 - Current
200 workers, in need of new setup
 
IMG 0676
IMG 0559
IMG 0558

Edited by UtahAnts, January 23 2023 - 5:18 PM.

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#3 Offline UtahAnts - Posted January 23 2023 - 5:17 PM

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Pogonomyrmex rugosus - Rough Harvester Ants

 

Their growth over the last couple months:

 

July 2022

Nuptial flights

 

IMG 9921

 

 

December 15, 2022

8 workers and brood

 

IMG 0101
 
 
December 27, 2022
12 workers - new formicarium
 
IMG 0137

 

January 2023 - Current

30 workers

 

IMG 0604
IMG 0649

  • T.C. likes this

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#4 Offline antsriondel - Posted January 23 2023 - 6:08 PM

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I wish that I had Rugosus in my area. 



#5 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 23 2023 - 6:39 PM

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Excellent start to this journal.
  • antsriondel likes this
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#6 Offline UtahAnts - Posted February 5 2023 - 9:00 PM

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Pogonomyrmex occidentalis - Western Harvester Ants

 
Currently at 225 workers, with a hundred or so brood items and another hundred eggs.
 
I added another DIY section to their setup. They quickly filled it with seeds and brood. Their former nest is currently being used as a seed store and designated hangout area. They've started taking non-seed protein sources as readily as seeds - mainly fish flakes, roaches, and bloodworms. 
 
IMG 0801
 
IMG 0787
 
IMG 0797
 
IMG 0793
 
IMG 0788

 

 


  • ANTdrew and AntPerson76 like this

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#7 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 6 2023 - 3:07 AM

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Awesome colony!
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#8 Offline UtahAnts - Posted February 13 2023 - 7:38 PM

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Pogonomyrmex rugosus - Rough Harvester Ants

 
Now at 45 workers with some more on the way. Some of the newer workers are getting large, but I'm hoping they are not at the maximum size yet.
 
I tried making a couple GIFs to capture the behavior of the ants, something an image can't quite do. You may need to click on the GIFs (last two images below) to view all the frames.
 
IMG 0804
 
IMG 0803
 
ezgif.com Gif maker
 
ezgif.com Gif maker (1)

 

 


  • ANTdrew and antsriondel like this

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#9 Offline UtahAnts - Posted February 19 2023 - 4:44 PM

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Messor Structor -  Reaper Ants

 

The colony is doing well in their dirt box. It's hard to see the colony at times, but I estimate they have around 70 workers with plenty of brood. The dirt box they are housed in does seem to leak easily, prompting mass evacuations every time I fill the water reservoir by even the smallest amount. They have made a large chamber that circles then entire box where they store all the brood, pictured below. The colony still stores their seeds in the test tubes in the attached AC test tube portal. They take very small amounts of roaches and have no interest in any sugars or fish flakes, however they take nearly any seeds I offer. The largest worker I've seen so far was about 12mm, while the smallest was around 3mm, a pretty intense size difference.
 
IMG 0835
 
IMG 0833

 

 


  • ANTdrew and Ants_Dakota like this

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#10 Offline UtahAnts - Posted March 4 2023 - 9:40 PM

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Pogonomyrmex rugosus - Rough Harvester Ants

 
This colony now has 60 workers along with a queen alate. The largest workers are now around the size usually seen foraging in the wild, and the new queen alate is a bit smaller comapared to the current queen. I added another outworld to their setup, and the colony has just about outgrown their current setup.
 
IMG 0962
 
IMG 0983

 

IMG 0967

 

IMG 0966

 

IMG 0986

 

IMG 0980

 

IMG 0994

 

IMG 0982

 

 


  • ANTdrew likes this

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#11 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 5 2023 - 3:11 AM

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Incredible!
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#12 Offline UtahAnts - Posted April 21 2023 - 7:07 PM

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Pogonomyrmex occidentalis - Western Harvester Ants

 

The colony is currently at around 300 workers. The initial spring boom has slowed, and I suspect the queen may be taking a break until summer. The majority of the colony has begun to congregate in their outworld, and I'll be replacing their current outworld with a new setup in the near future to try and limit this issue.

 

Pogonomyrmex occidentalis seeds and larvae

 


  • Ernteameise likes this

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#13 Offline UtahAnts - Posted May 14 2023 - 2:09 PM

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Triple udpate

 

Messor Structor -  Reaper Ants

 

160 workers. The colony had some larvae hidden somewhere becuase since last update they have more than doubled in size. I've only fed them dandelion and chia seeds. Rarely do they ever willingly take insects and sugar. They've also cleared out the bottom layer of their dirt setup, perhaps trying to take full advantage of the humidity there.
 
Messor nest

 

IMG 1540

 

 

Pogonomyrmex rugosus - Rough Harvester Ants

 

This colony is doing well with about 90 workers, they had a couple more alates eclose and the largest workers now have a head size greater than the queen's.

 

Head lineup

 

IMG 1402

 

 
 

Pogonomyrmex occidentalis - Western Harvester Ants

 

350 workers. and female 3 alates! All three recently eclosed several days ago. I'll attatch their new outworld in a week or two after I finish up some other projects.

 

Female alate

 

P. occidentalis 4

 

P. occidentalis 3

 

P. occidentalis 2

 


  • ANTdrew and Ernteameise like this

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#14 Offline Ernteameise - Posted May 14 2023 - 11:50 PM

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Beautiful colonies

#15 Offline UtahAnts - Posted May 27 2023 - 7:34 PM

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Messor Structor -  Reaper Ants - SOLD

170 workers. I sold this colony recently to a friend who had some issues with their own founding messor colony. Overall this species of harvester was very polymorphic and very low maintence. I can see why this is such a popular genus for European keepers. A bit slower growing but given an adequate formicarium (such as a dirt setup) this species can be encouraged to grow faster.
 
Messor structor 2

 

 
Messor structor 1
 
 
 

Pogonomyrmex occidentalis - Western Harvester Ants

 

375 workers. I moved them into a new setup as pictured. I replaced their old horizontal chambered formicarium for another red sand-cast nest today. After I moved them by dumping the old nest's inhabitants into the outworld, the outworld has been full of ants digging in the base layer of desert sand. They should all eventually find their way back to the main nest on the left with the queen (as seen in the gif below).

 

IMG 1552

 

Gif (5) - Pogonomyrmex occidentalis Queen

 

ezgif.com Gif maker (4)

 


  • Ernteameise and AntPerson76 like this

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#16 Offline ANTdrew - Posted May 28 2023 - 2:19 AM

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Awesome!
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#17 Offline UtahAnts - Posted May 29 2023 - 1:49 PM

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Pogonomyrmex rugosus - Rough Harvester Ants

 
They are at around 100 workers now with at least 2 female alates. I filmed a few videos of the colony with a new macro lens.
 

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#18 Offline AntPerson76 - Posted May 29 2023 - 4:11 PM

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Your colonies are really cool! I've always been fond of harvester ants, I was lucky to collect pheidole, which also collects seeds.


Edited by AntPerson76, May 29 2023 - 4:11 PM.


#19 Offline UtahAnts - Posted May 30 2023 - 9:46 AM

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Thanks, I'll have P. occidentalis to sell in a few months if you'd be interested in your own colony. I'm happy to take discounted pre-orders over PMs.


  • AntPerson76 likes this

Leave the Road, take the Trails - Pythagoras

 

Utah Ant Keeping --- Here

Formicariums and Outworlds --- Here

Photo Album --- Here

Videos --- Here


#20 Offline AntPerson76 - Posted May 30 2023 - 10:25 AM

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Thanks, I'll have P. occidentalis to sell in a few months if you'd be interested in your own colony. I'm happy to take discounted pre-orders over PMs.

I'll think about it, thanks for the offer! Right now I'm expecting to find a lot of ants this summer though, and I've limited myself to seven colonies at max. 


Edited by AntPerson76, May 30 2023 - 10:26 AM.






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