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Light sensitivity among ants?

light sensitivity antkeeping ants

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10 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Stubyvast - Posted July 5 2024 - 7:14 PM

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I have been rather cautious in ant keeping to always keep my ant colonies in the dark, whether that be tucking the test tube in an old, clean sock, or shielding the formicarium from light with red paper and cardboard, or a red acrylic sheet. But now I've been wondering, is that really necessary? I've heard that some ant species are not sensitive to light, and are not affected by it. This would be awesome! I would be able to view my ants without the worry of disturbing them. So do any of you know anything about light sensitivity among these ant species that I currently own (or wish to own)?

Ant species: 

Camponotus Modoc

Ant species:

Camponotus Vicinus

Ant species:

Myrmica Rubra

Ant species:

Lasius niger/neoniger (Unsure which)

Ant species:

Tetramorium Immigrans

Ant species:

Formica Pacifica

 


Currently raising: 

Myrmica Rubra (polygynous 2 queen + brood)

Camponotus Modoc (single queen + brood)

Camponotus Vicinus (two single queens + brood)

Lasius Niger (single queen + ~60+ workers)

Tetramorium immigrans (single queen)

Temporarily keeping IdioticMouse26's ants/tarantula until August 12th as he is away. Thanks IM26!

 

 


#2 Offline GOCAMPONOTUS - Posted July 5 2024 - 8:05 PM

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My C.vicinus colonies aren't bothered at all by the light. but my founding queen gets freaked out. Maybe its a level of safety.


Currently keeping: 2 C.vicinus colonies.2 C.sansabeanus. 1 C.leavissimus. 2 C.Ca02. 1 V.pergandei. 4 T.immigrans.1 F.pacifica. 1 C.hyatti

1 M.ergatognya

 

 

 

 

Trying to get my hands on :C.modoc,A.vercicolor, and Any Honeypots

  

 

 


#3 Offline IdioticMouse26 - Posted July 5 2024 - 9:56 PM

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Usually, bigger the colony, less sensitive they are to light. I'm guess it's because they feel more safe when they have a well-established colony.

 

Edit: Going off of what GOCAMPONOTUS said, C.vicinus might be less sensitive to light. My founding C.vicinus queen is more chill then my C.modoc whenever I check upon them.


Edited by IdioticMouse26, July 5 2024 - 9:58 PM.


#4 Online BleepingBleepers - Posted July 6 2024 - 1:43 PM

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I mentioned light sensitivity in my CA02 journal. I also notice it in my astute ants.

 

From what I've found, sensitivity to the light can also change.

 

What I found (mostly CA02 Camponotus)

 

1. Queen, Major, Medians (to a slightly lesser degree) seem to be sensitive to light while the minor workers don't seem to notice it at all (other than sunlight which also has heat properties so they can react to it based on that). I feel like the Queen is the most sensitive one of them all. Also noted in my journal, I notice that when these ant castes that can sense light notice too much light, they send out an alarm to the minor workers and that's when the minor workers react and start moving the brood etc.

2. After the cooldown period (simulating colder months), they were VERY sensitive to light. Reminds me of us waking up to someone opening the curtains in the room and letting light in. My reaction would be similar to a vampire's like "IT BURNS IT BURNS!!!!" :lol:  A month later, I notice a lot less and can actually take some quick pictures.

3. They also get more use to it when they are in a room that has some light. Room with dim light and then turning on a light for picture taking, they're not as reactive. As opposed to a dark room and then turning on the light.

4. Reactions from ants to the temporary exposure to medium / high amounts of light, mostly for picture taking: Move brood elsewhere (from my experience, this rarely happens and is in the more extreme cases. They also only move a couple brood out of the area if they do), sticking around and getting use to it, finding parts of the nest that is darker and hiding in there. The Queen can also tolerate more light when she is facing AWAY from the light source. I have hit her from behind (that's what he said) with a light source and she seems less reactive. I've also had ants start napping and almost don't seem to mind the light, Queen included. Like she was kinda reacting to the light, then I notice her pausing and looking like she was trying to rest / take a nap and not react to light at all which I took advantage of and got off a few pictures. Other reactions are from my astute ants, they will use the moisture to gather sand, empty cocoons and trash and try to cover up where the light is coming through (mostly the clear glass / plastic areas where we view them through). CA02 Camponotus don't seem to do this, thankfully.

5. A lot of these ants do seem to be okay with low light or indirect light. It's when the light hits around medium or higher and especially when it's shining right in their face, that's when they notice it a lot more.

6. My astute ants, in the beginning, I notice that she had almost no reaction to light, now she does a lot more.

7. I also notice that ants that are busy tending brood and with nest activities are less likely to react to light. You can also see some extra sensory organs on Queen's head (posted some super close up pictures of my astute Queen in the astute journal) that helps them sense light. It's quite interesting to see.

 

Sharing my observations and chitchatting ;)


Edited by BleepingBleepers, July 6 2024 - 2:10 PM.

  • Stubyvast likes this

JOURNAL: Camponotus CA02 - First Time At Ant Keeping CLICK HERE

JOURNAL: Ectomomyrmex cf. astutus - Ant Species #2 CLICK HERE


#5 Offline Coastline_Ants - Posted July 6 2024 - 2:02 PM

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From my experience I prefer to keep queens in the dark however, they are normally in an incubator however, I have founded queens on my desk and have had great success. As long as there are no vibrations or constant pounding light, you are fine (that goes for queens and colonies). The only exception I have found to my rule is Myrmecia which have quite good eyesight and I have found actually mind the light. In that case you can simply cover the nest and leave the outworld in light.
Playlists of My Ants:
https://m.youtube.co...m-KGxz5ZemqBVjw[Myrmecia]

#6 Offline Mushu - Posted July 7 2024 - 5:46 AM

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I have similar observations and experiences as BleepingBleepers.

1) If they are not acclimated to light they are jittery at first. In this scenario, when I check on them and will shine a led magnifying glass for a short period(5 seconds) and cover it back. You will start noticing they don’t flinch after some time.

Now even though I still put a red cover, whenever I remove cover, forget it, or shine any light, including flashlight, led magnifying glass, they hardly flinch. Only the queen reacts and it’s not a reaction of panic. More like she notices extra light and will move to the dark.

This is the same scenario with both my honeypot colonies. They both don’t flinch at all anymore, even with full blast light shining on them.

My Camponotus semitestaceous on the other hand the queen still reacts and tries to save the brood as if it’s an invasion of the nest so I check less often.

I’d just go by how your ants react or adapt.
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#7 Offline Stubyvast - Posted July 7 2024 - 7:52 AM

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Okay thanks everyone! This is great. I did notice that like Coastline_ants said, my myrmecine ants do seem pretty responsive to light, to the point that they will put off egg-laying until the next day at least. And according to Mushu and BleepingBleepers, it is possible to acclimatize them to light? Very interesting! Thank you all for your help, any other information is welcome.


Currently raising: 

Myrmica Rubra (polygynous 2 queen + brood)

Camponotus Modoc (single queen + brood)

Camponotus Vicinus (two single queens + brood)

Lasius Niger (single queen + ~60+ workers)

Tetramorium immigrans (single queen)

Temporarily keeping IdioticMouse26's ants/tarantula until August 12th as he is away. Thanks IM26!

 

 


#8 Offline The_Gaming-gate - Posted July 18 2024 - 5:42 AM

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[deleted]

Edited by The_Gaming-gate, July 18 2024 - 5:43 AM.

Ants are small creatures... but together... they can rule the world.

 

 

 


#9 Offline NotAxo - Posted July 20 2024 - 4:47 AM

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I have a colony of C. parius ants with 9 workers and one queen. They've been exposed to natural light in my room since the fifth worker emerged, about a month ago. I turn on an LED tube for them 3-4 times a day when I observe them. They seem comfortable with the light, as they've been in natural light since the fifth worker emerged. They become agitated only when I attempt to handle the tube or when I try to stick something inside it. This species is quick-moving and capable of spraying formic acid, but they do so only when they feel disturbed beyond their tolerance.


Currently raising : C. Parius (2x), C. Vitiosus (2x), Carebara Diversa (1x), C. irratians (2x), M. brunnea (1x)

Have raised : Solenopsis

Enjoy anting, NotAxo :D


#10 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted July 20 2024 - 8:58 AM

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Pogonomyrmex occidentalis keeper  here.

 

They seem to acclimate to light or dark easily, including the queen.

Early on in a smaller setup at times she and brood could be found in the outworld under bright light.

I found that if I gave them darkness for a day or so they would go frenzy from rapid light exposure. but calm down in short order acclimating to the light quickly.

Early on was also side view mini hearth and I found the speed of light intensity change was a factor. Adding light slower and they stayed calm. Turing on bright from dark quickly and they frenzy.

 

They have been in top down view nests for some time now. They have lights on near by(outworld) but nothing aimed directly on the nests.

When viewing the nests I turn on the led magnifier aimed away from the nest and not too quickly (not that slow either) rotate it to where i want to see.

But in general they are calm under lit conditions and don't frenzy when i increase the light level. Nor when the outworld timer lights go on in the morning.

 

Recently I offered them a blacked out chamber(foil covered part of the glass). They do pack in there tighter than the other similar lit chambers. While the queen is there form time to time, she still swaps chambers about once a week or so. And they went from around 100 when they left the mini for top down view nests, to steady grew to about 400 now all with lit nests.


Edited by Full_Frontal_Yeti, July 20 2024 - 8:59 AM.


#11 Offline OhNoNotAgain - Posted July 20 2024 - 10:46 PM

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My Camponotus don't care much.

Tetramorium: They don't like light, though they will survive in light. If they can access sand or trash, they will use it to block off light. Tetra windows tend to get covered with sand/whatever.

Some Pogonomyrmex: Make their windows quite dirty, too, so there may be some dislike of light going on.

I think Prenolepis are kinda light sensitive too, but you didn't ask about them.

Most of my other ants (e.g. Liometopum, Veromessor, whatnot) don't care very much.

 

I generally MUCH prefer top down nests, or keeping tubes in nice outworlds, and those (except for Prenolepis) I keep out in normal ambient light. Pogonomyrmex tend to get some shade, but I don't cover their windows. Tetramorium ... I don't like keeping Tetras but I have a Game of Thrones Pleo tube of 6 queens right now.


Formiculture Journals::

Veromessor pergandei, andrei; Novomessor cockerelli

Camponotus fragilis; also separate journal: Camponotus sansabeanus (inactive), vicinus, laevigatus/quercicola

Liometopum occidentale;  Prenolepis imparis; Myrmecocystus mexicanus (inactive)

Pogonomyrmex subnitidus and californicus (inactive)

Tetramorium sp.

Termites: Zootermopsis angusticollis

 

Isopods: A. gestroi, granulatum, kluugi, maculatum, vulgare; C. murina; P. hoffmannseggi, P. haasi, P. ornatus; V. parvus

Spoods: Phidippus sp.






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