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[Discontinued] Karma's Ant Journals (Camponotus, Formica, Lasius, Manica, Myrmica)

camponotus formica lasius manica myrmica

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#1 Offline Karma - Posted March 12 2023 - 1:28 AM


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2x Camponotus herculeanus - Caught five queens around the end of may last year which was late due to a delayed spring from bad weather, sold three and kept two. This late nuptial flight season may have screwed them up a bit as one colony only got to two workers and the other to five before the larvae stopped growing and they entered dispause. On the bright side both have laid eggs and their larvae has started to grow again.


1x Formica sp. - Caught seven queens between june and august of last year. One was infertile, I tried combining three of them but they were very aggressive and killed eachother likely from spraying too much formic acid. I also tried to combine two others but they were not interested in cooperating either but I was able to seperate them in time. I have seen others find a lot of success with combining these queens and there are a ton of multi-queen colonies where I live so I am not sure why I struggle to create multi-queen colonies with this species myself. Anyways ended up selling those two and keeping one queen. The queen that I kept went on to do very well and got roughly eight workers before entering dispause. This colony has around six eggs that were recently laid. Looking forward to their growth over the next few months.


1x Lasius neoniger - Caught three queens around the end of september, sold two, kept one. For those not familiar with this species, unlike Lasius niger these queens have their nuptial flight later in the year and enter dispause before founding their colonies. The queen I kept now has a healthy pile of eggs. I'll probably leave them undisturbed for the next month or so.


1x Manica hunteri - Caught three queens around august/september. Tried to set two of the queens up in different spots around where I live to try and get more of these colonies in my neighborhood as they are extremely hard to find. It seems colonies of this species have a very difficult time getting started as I frequently come across dead queens/colonies that were outcompeted by a Myrmica or Formica species. However once they get going and grow to a decent size they become extremely aggressive and wipe out just about every other colony around them. The one queen I kept decided to enter dispause before laying any eggs (common for most Manica I believe). However they are now out of dispause and have laid a couple of eggs. As a side note, I've read that Manica can be really hard to get passed the founding stage but I've had a 100% success rate with them across about six quees over four years. Only thing I can attribute this to is not bugging them very much prior to them getting their first workers. I only disturb them max three times a week (maple syrup once a week, fruit flies twice a week) and this seems to ensure they at least get to workers if they are fertile. Also I keep them in a test tube setup and do not give them an outworld.


2x Myrmica sp. - Caught one queen in july. This queen struggled a bit and laid several eggs but kept eating them. Only ended up getting to a single worker by dispause. Unfortuantely this one worker died during dispause as well. However this queen has since laid a bunch of eggs so I am hopeful they can get back on track. I also caught fifteen queens around september and decided to try an experient and combine all these queens. I have had a very low success rate with this species for founding queens making it to their first workers. I find that multi-queen founding colonies have much more success than solo queens but often end up killing each other as they get their first workers. This is what has been happening with the fifteen queen colony since I took them out of dispause. I put them in an AC test tube portal with several test tubes to allow them to spread out but that didn't stop them from being aggressive toward each other. I haven't counted recently but I believe they are now down to seven or eight queens. On the bright side they have a nice amount of eggs will probably get somewhere between twenty to fifty workers from their first batch of eggs.


I will add pictures for these colonies after they've all had enough time to settle and finish laying their first batch of eggs. Also all of these colonies stopped dispause around March 1.


I'll likely be selling all of these colonies later this year once they are more established so feel free to DM me if interested.

Edited by Karma, July 14 2023 - 10:44 PM.

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#2 Offline Antlover24 - Posted March 12 2023 - 6:35 AM


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I'm excited to see how your Manica queen does.
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#3 Offline Karma - Posted March 15 2023 - 3:46 PM


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Alright got some pictures.


Camponotus herculeanus Colony A - These first six photos are the Camponotus herculeanus colony with 2 workers. I guess I can start calling them colony A to avoid confusion. As you can see they have a ton of larvae that stopped growing last year but have now resumed their growth. They also have a bunch of eggs that you can see under the queen's gaster in the first picture. They have somewhere between 10-15 eggs and somewhere around 12 larvae.









Camponotus herculeanus Colony B - These two photos are the Camponotus herculeanus colony B with 5 workers. They ate a bunch of their larvae unfortunately, the rest I did not get pictures of and is being placed away from

the heat by the cotton which makes me think it might also be dead. They have a large larvae that looks like it has started to spin its cacoon. On the bright side, they have a ton of eggs, I counted somewhere between 15 - 20.





Formica sp. - It was difficult to get good pictures of this colony because they went absolutely crazy when I got close to them. One of the workers even picked up their eggs and ran outside out into their AC test tube portal. As you can see from the pictures, they have a good pile of eggs too (I counted between 15-20). Not much else to report for this colony.






Lasius neoniger - As I mentioned I want to wait until they get their first workers before I disturb this colony. I will take some pictures once that happens.


Manica hunteri - Apologies for the poor quality/lighting here. I'll try and get some better quality pictures in the future so I will be able to tell if it is in fact Manica hunteri and not Manica invidia. As you can see from the pictures, the queen has about 4 or 5 eggs. Not much to report besides this. She doesn't seem to care much for the maple syrup (doesn't get very excited) but happily drinks it. What she does go crazy for is the fruit flies. She'll pick them up and run around and go back and forth between her eggs and the cotton blocking the entrance of her test tube for a bit. Eventually she settles down and starts eating them next to her eggs.







Myrmica sp. Colony A - I guess I will need to split these colonies into A and B as well. These two pictures are of the single queen who's had a rough time and who's worker passed away over dispause. Looks like she's bouncing back strong which is good to see and now has 6 eggs.





Myrmica sp. Colony B - For some reason I could not get any good pictures of this colony, something about the test tubes made it really difficult for the camera to focus. Looks like this colony actually only has 6 queens now, down from 15, ruthless. The first two photos are of 4 queens that congergate in one test tube. Again I couldn't get a good picture, but this group of queens has a monster pile of eggs, somewhere between 25-40 eggs. The second two pictures are of the two queens that congergate in the other testube (these are connected through an AC test tube portal). I got some better pictures of these two and as you can see they have about 15 eggs.






Edited by Karma, March 15 2023 - 10:08 PM.

#4 Offline Karma - Posted March 25 2023 - 11:15 AM


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Incoming big photo dump.


Camponotus herculeanus Colony A - The brood is growing fast.They have 5 soon to be 6 pupae, about 6 larvae, and 10 - 15 eggs, some of which have already hatched into tiny larvae. The two nanitics in this colony seem a bit dim so hopefully this second generation of workers are better at gathering food and caring for the queen + brood.











Camponotus herculeanus Colony B - Unfortunately they ate all fo their previous larvae including the large larvae in the last post. On the bright side their egg pile is growing and is now up to somewhere between 30 - 40 eggs. They'll need a ton of protein in the coming months and the five nanitics are going to have to work overtime to keep all the larvae fed.








Formica sp. - This colony is chugging along. Although they've become extremely light sensitive which has made it almost impossible to take pictures as they scatter so fast once I remove their test tube cover so apologies for the bad photos. Many of their eggs have started to hatch and are now larvae, I'd estimate somewhere around 10 - 15 larvae and 20 - 40 eggs.








Lasius neoniger - Still waiting on workers. I peaked with red light recently and it looks like the queen has around 10 larvae which should pupate in the next couple of weeks.


Manica hunteri - This queen is doing well. She has a big appetite and keeps pumping out eggs, has about 10 or more eggs now. It doesn't look like any of the eggs have hatched yet but they should soon.









Myrmica sp. Colony A - This test tube must have gotten a little too hot and caused some condensation to form. Unofrtunately the eggs were in that condensation and made it difficult to get pictures but from my earlier accounts I believe this queen has around 10 eggs now as well.






Myrmica sp. Colony B - Some good news with this colony. It looks like the purge has stopped and all of the queens are happy with each other (for now). The queen that was in the seperate test tube even brought their eggs over to the other test tube and all 6 queens now congergate in a single test tube.I was still having trouble taking pictures of the colony through this test tube unfortunately but did get a couple glimpses of the monstrous egg pile they have. I still believe they have around 30 - 50 eggs. They have a pretty ferocious apetite already which I imagine is going to get much worse as these eggs hatch into larvae.





Edited by Karma, March 25 2023 - 11:25 AM.

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#5 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 25 2023 - 4:34 PM


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How are you getting such great photos?
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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.

#6 Offline Katla - Posted March 25 2023 - 5:30 PM


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I Wish i could keep such clean test tube setups! nice work

Edited by Katla, March 25 2023 - 5:30 PM.

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#7 Offline Karma - Posted March 26 2023 - 4:41 PM


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How are you getting such great photos?

Thanks. Just a simple $40 clip on macro lens set and my phone. The lighting makes all the difference, I only take pictures using natural light by a window when the sun is out.


I've tried setting up my own lighting but the macro lens does not respond to it well. I'm planning on a getting a better set so hopefully I'll be able to get some really good close ups then.

Edited by Karma, March 26 2023 - 4:43 PM.

#8 Offline Karma - Posted March 26 2023 - 4:47 PM


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I Wish i could keep such clean test tube setups! nice work

Thanks haha, the trick is taking lots of pictures right when you switch them to a new test tube. For both camponotus colonies I had just moved them into a new test tube when the pictures were taken so they'll probably be much dirtier when I take some more pictures in a week or two.

#9 Offline Karma - Posted July 14 2023 - 10:35 PM


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Long overdue update. Unfortunately all of these colonies have been sold and most of them are no longer in my posession, with that said I still have a bunch of photos that I took over the past couple of months so I will be including them with the final update I give on each colony. While this journal will be discontinued, I will be starting a new journal on several Leptothorax canadensis queens I caught.


Now for the final updates:


Camponotus herculeanus Colony A - I forget which colony is which in the photos so I will just include all the Camponotus photos under colony A and B updates. This colony struggled a bit and ended up eating some of their eggs/larvae as I prepped them to be sent to their new owner but ended up with about 15-20 workers.


Camponotus herculeanus Colony B - This colony did extremely well, ending up with about 30-40 workers at the time that they were sold with around 30 larvae. However in late May/June they seemed to enter a mini dispause where they became very inactive and their larvae stopped growing or grew very slowly. This is normal in my experience with this species and tends to happen if the colony is growing too quickly. They ended up with 3 or so larger workers (media's?) as well but sadly I wasn't able to get pictures of them.
















Formica sp. - This colony absolutely exploded in population. I am not sure what specific Formica species this is but they always seem to have extremely impressive growth. They ended up with somewhere between 50 and 100 workers at the time of being sold.









Lasius neoniger - This colony was sold shortly after the last post and I was unable to get a picture of them unfortuantely.


Manica hunteri Myrmica sp. - As you can see from the photos, I was clearly mistaken and this queen is not Manica. I am not sure what Myrmica species it is as I rarely see ants this red around where I live. It's possible the workers get darker as the colony gets older though. Anyways I managed to catch another one of these queens as well but I sent both of them to a friend with a microscope and asked them to help me identify what species this is. At the time this colony had around 5 workers and plenty of brood.








Myrmica sp. Colony A & B - I am putting A & B together as I managed to combine the colonies with little fuss. I also caught several more queens and managed to add them in and get them accepted. They ended up with about 13 queens in total, however they were stressed for a period of time and ended up eating a decent amount of eggs. Luckily they laid so many they still ended up with 10-15 nanitics. I was pretty sad to let this colony go as I could have probably turned it into one of the most impressive Myrmica colonies on the forum. That concludes this journal, I wish I was able to continue it but am glad nonetheless for the photos I was able to share.















Edited by Karma, July 14 2023 - 10:42 PM.

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