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Emergency! Need Help with Harvester Ant Queen (possibly P. Maricopa)

pogonomyrmex queen husbandry feeding care

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#1 Offline New2Ants2 - Posted April 9 2023 - 11:35 AM



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   Caught a Harvester Ant queen a little more than a month ago (Arizona) and set her up in a test tube. I suspect she is P. Maricopa or a black harvester ant (I can always provide a picture if it helps) She has laid a few eggs but has become more and more lethargic. I’ve recently been trying to feed her honey and proteins (cricket legs and mealworm pieces) but she hasn’t been inclined to eat any of it. I also provided her with a very small enclosure she could forage around for food in but she is not eating any of the seeds I place in them, so she is currently back in her test tube.  Any tips on the husbandry, keeping and feeding with an harvester ant queen would be greatly appreciated. 

#2 Offline Daniel - Posted April 9 2023 - 12:40 PM


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A photo would help, but I suspect this queen is Veromessor pergandei based on nuptial flight timing and description as "black harvester ant."  If so, she would be a fully claustral species and I would recommend founding in a test tube without foraging area.  Provide some seeds in the test tube (e.g., grass, dandelion, or poppy) and keep her warm (I keep mine around 93° F).  Also, depending on where is AZ she was collected, she may be from a population that exhibits pleometrosis (see photo and link to paper below).  If this is the case, it may be difficult to successfully found a solitary queen.





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