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Voidley's Termitat


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6 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Voidley - Posted December 25 2023 - 9:30 PM

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Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that you all had an excellent holiday.

 

My aunt used to take care of an ant farm when she was little, so she has always been interested and supportive of my ant-keeping. A few months ago, I was talking to her about her ant farm, and the subject of a Termitat came up. Come Christmas/my birthday, and, to my delight (and my mom's dismay), it turns out that she actually got me a Termitat! So, and I’m smilling ear to ear as I write this, I am now the proud owner of a Zootermopsis angusticollis colony :D. Also, I can say that I got gifted termites from my aunt (you've gotta use the American  pronunciation to make that one work lol).

 

Anyways, with that introduction aside, here is my first update about these guys. They arrived with just over 25 workers and one soldier. They also seem to have quite a few nymphs which, to my understanding, will turn into neotenic reproductives. I'm not too familiar with termites and termite keeping, so I'm learning as I go. If anyone a little more expertise could confirm that this is the next step, that would be great. Also, how do you differentiate neotonics from the other nymphs? They look pretty similar from the images I’ve seen. Note that I’m basing most of this off of other member’s journals and also this diagram I found:

image_1936-Nevada-dampwood-termite.jpg

 

When the termites arrived, they had a lot of dry frass in their chamber. After watering they have almost completely cleared it out, which I’m pretty sure they are meant to be doing. They have already started blocking off the entrance which I hope is also a good sign. I’ve only had them for a day and they have already gotten loads of work done. They are also currently excavating a few tunnels that lead deeper into the wood—hopefully I don’t loose them in the log.

 

As for care, I’m watering them pretty generously for now, but I’ll slow down if it becomes a problem. I’m also covering the front of the nest to hopefully get them to dig up against the acrylic. I did this just by sticking a notebook to the front with a bit of blue tack so that I can easily remove it to observe them. Speaking of which, while I was watching/photographing them, I managed to capture one of the workers feeding the soldier through trophallaxis. The Termitat comes with a handy book full of information about this species. From it I learned that, like ant majors, the soldier termites cannot actually eat wood like the other termites so they must be fed by their nest mates instead. Here’s the photo of that plus a few other nice pictures I got.

 

Soldier being fed through trophallaxis:

DSC00244.jpg

 

The soldier standing next to a nymph:
DSC00251.JPG

 

Soldier standing next to a worker:

DSC00247.jpg

 

Colony huddle. Note the two nymphs in the top right who will hopfully become reproductives. Also, what's up with the ones in the middle who look like they have wing scars or something? There are a few of them in the colony.
DSC00234.jpg

And a full view of the Termitat, I'm already in love with this thing:

DSC00194.jpg


Edited by Voidley, December 25 2023 - 10:05 PM.

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#2 Offline Locness - Posted December 25 2023 - 9:53 PM

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Congrats, that looks pretty sick 😎
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#3 Offline AsdinAnts - Posted December 25 2023 - 10:18 PM

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dang! your so lucky to have a family member that would actually get you something like a termite colony lol, I have to hide my termites. Anyways, good luck with this termitat! btw, you have a W aunt.
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#4 Offline ANTdrew - Posted December 26 2023 - 1:36 PM

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Very cool gift! I hope they do well for you.
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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.

#5 Offline 100lols - Posted December 30 2023 - 10:13 AM

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Awesome!!! I’ve been wanting one of these lol. Can’t wait for more updates :)
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#6 Offline Voidley - Posted January 10 2024 - 10:30 PM

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Exciting news! (I think)

I might have seen my termites mating. As I was watching the termites, I observed two termites start pressing their abdomens against each other and shaking them for ~3 minutes (based on photo timestamps) I noticed the same two doing this exact same thing again about an hour later. Is this just how termites mate? Here is a photo of them:

GH_03294.JPG

 

Are these supplementary reproductives? They look different than the other termites. They are a darker orange than the workers and have no wing buds like the nymphs. Here is a photo of one of the suspected neotenics shortly after they separated:

GH_03310.JPG

For future reference, how do you identify neotenics from other castes? Because I feel like I’ve seen more than just these two. Could the absence of royals have cause the termites to respond by overcompensating and creating extra neotenics? Oh, and here's a random thought – can you determine the sex of termites without disturbing them? Just curious!

 

Whatever this behavior is, I can’t get over how cute it is! I’m hoping that they were neotenic mating, but if they weren’t mating, then what exactly were they doing here? My only other idea was that they were transferring food, as I know they can eat from another termite’s abdomen, but I am not sure if they can exchange food between abdomens.

 

As a last update, the soldier is still uneaten. That being said, I did notice that part of its left antennae has been missing (it has been like this since the first photos). Other than that though, they are doing well. Thanks you reading this quick little update!

GH_03351.JPG


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#7 Offline Nare - Posted January 13 2024 - 11:51 AM

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Exciting news! (I think)

I might have seen my termites mating. As I was watching the termites, I observed two termites start pressing their abdomens against each other and shaking them for ~3 minutes (based on photo timestamps) I noticed the same two doing this exact same thing again about an hour later. Is this just how termites mate? Here is a photo of them:

attachicon.gifGH_03294.JPG

 

Are these supplementary reproductives? They look different than the other termites. They are a darker orange than the workers and have no wing buds like the nymphs. Here is a photo of one of the suspected neotenics shortly after they separated:

attachicon.gifGH_03310.JPG

For future reference, how do you identify neotenics from other castes? Because I feel like I’ve seen more than just these two. Could the absence of royals have cause the termites to respond by overcompensating and creating extra neotenics? Oh, and here's a random thought – can you determine the sex of termites without disturbing them? Just curious!

 

Whatever this behavior is, I can’t get over how cute it is! I’m hoping that they were neotenic mating, but if they weren’t mating, then what exactly were they doing here? My only other idea was that they were transferring food, as I know they can eat from another termite’s abdomen, but I am not sure if they can exchange food between abdomens.

 

As a last update, the soldier is still uneaten. That being said, I did notice that part of its left antennae has been missing (it has been like this since the first photos). Other than that though, they are doing well. Thanks you reading this quick little update!

attachicon.gifGH_03351.JPG

 

Looks like mating, yeah. I'm a little rusty on my Zoot knowledge but iirc the neotonics will be a darker orange than normal nymphs/pseudergates/workers (though not as dark as imagoes). But like I said that looks like mating behaviour anyway so you're probably good to go.

 

I know Rets (at least R. flavipes) seem to have all sorts of different pathways to reproductives (i.e. brachypterous neotonics, ergatoid neotonics etc...). Curious as to whether Zoots have multiple pathways for neotonics as well, although I suspect since they don't really have true workers to start with, they'll only have brachypterous neotonics.

 

Also interesting that one of the neotonics for sure has at least one wing bud, but I can't see any on the other. Wonder if they got chewed off or if that represents a different type of neotonic.


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