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Caswal's Prolasius advenus (Updated 25-Oct-2014)


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#1 Offline caswal - Posted August 30 2014 - 4:24 AM

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So I went Anting again today (30.08.2014). Took a different track then before, but forgot to bring the camera :(. It's really nice woodland with loads of giant tree ferns on the lower valleys changing into beech forest the further you go up.

 

I got off the track, snapped open a rotten log, and there were 2 queens, a bunch of workers and some eggs. Put the various log parts in containers and took them home for sorted out. After sorting them out, I have 4 queens and about 50-100 workers. Checking a worker under the microscope I am pretty sure it is Prolasuis Advenus, which also makes sense for the where I found it.

 

2 queens I have in a foraging container with 2 test tubes. The other 2 queens I have in their own test tubes with a few workers each for the time being.

 

Here are some pictures:

 

Worker (about 3mm long):

 

LT8F1iu.jpg

 

 

JQOScOe.jpg

 

The Queen:

 

amfqi3Z.jpg

 

2 Test tubes in a foraging container:

 

JiYIxSm.jpg

 

 

Prolasius seems to be a pretty cool ant. I am hoping it is fairly resilient and easy to keep. It feeds on various small arthropods and other general stuff. 


Edited by caswal, October 24 2014 - 2:32 PM.


#2 Offline wook - Posted August 30 2014 - 4:28 AM

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Pretty nice Caswal! Good luck with them. :)


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#3 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted August 30 2014 - 6:15 AM

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Very nice!

#4 Offline caswal - Posted August 31 2014 - 3:46 PM

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Reading more about this species in Ants of New Zealand, they seem to be real generalists. Gathering sap, both from trees, and cutting the skin of a certain species of moth and drinking it's 'sap'. Occasionally invading peoples homes in search for food etc. So hopefully they are easy to keep.

 

I think one of the queens in one of the test tubes has laid a few more eggs. The works I put in there with her were carrying some, but I think the pile is bigger.

 

This colony only has eggs at this point. I assume they have only just started to wake up from hibernation as we have just entered spring here. They really don't seem to be hungry for any food, or are sending many workers out foraging. They have ignored everything I have fed them. Honey water, rice, a small frozen house fly. Is this behaviour expected with ants at this point? I.e just coming out from hibernation and laid the first brood? Will they start to forage as the larvae and pupae form and until then not risk going out?



#5 Offline caswal - Posted September 16 2014 - 1:45 AM

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So, I don't know what to make of these ants.

 

For the past 2 weeks, they basically just sit in their test tubes sleeping. With almost 0 workers outside the tubes awake doing anything. I had 2 seperate containers, with 2 queens in each, with 2 test tubes in each (just incase something happened to one, they had somewhere to move to).

 

Now these guys can climb! I was using Olive oil, as that is all I had in the house, but as much as a tried, these ants are tiny and would get caught, trapped and die in the most tiniest of pools. Even small drips on the vertical sides would get them.

 

I then got some vaseline, and made a huge 1 inch band around the top of the container. They didn't care and just walk straight over it. So placed another inch band around the lid, drilled a ring of 2mm holes around that. Some still escaped! Clinging onto the vaseline upside down, and out of the holes.

 

Now these closed lids, they had no good ventilation. So I would periodically open them during the day and as they didn't really wonder around it wasn't a problem. But after 2 weeks of this, they still arn't moving round. Last weekend I noticed an ant nest in the concrete out the back of the house I believe they are Monomorium Antarticum. But havn't grabbed a worker to check yet. So with them now awake from hibernation, I was getting really suspicious of my ants.

 

I had a feeling, that because of the closed nature of the containers, and they have been tugging at the wet cotton wool plug at one end of the test tube. That the saturation of pheromones made them think they are just in one giant nest so therefore there is nowhere to forage to? I'm not sure, but maybe this makes sense.

 

Today I finally got some time to go out and grab some talcum powder, rubbing alcohol and a new container. Brushed a large 1 inch band of the mixture around the top, placed all test tubes and all the ants into the new container. They still don't seem to care for food. Either honey or an egg/water/honey/gelatin mix I made.

 

I have ordered some live mealworms, so they should be here in the next couple of days. Their doesn't seem to be much bugs apart from woodlouse/slaters in the back yard, and they don't seem to care for them.

 

Any general tips/advice?



#6 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 16 2014 - 4:30 AM

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How's the talcum powder working? That usually works pretty well, but it just wears off after a while depending on how much they try to cross it.



#7 Offline Crystals - Posted September 16 2014 - 6:14 AM

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Younger colonies don't forage as much as older ones.  In colonies with less than 25 workers I usually don't see much foraging (it is somewhat dependent on the species).

Most of my ants don't like honey either, but they readily accept sugar water or hummingbird nectar.  I occasionally treat them to a drop of fruit juice squeezed from something I was munching on.

 

Insect wise, I find all of my colonies love spiders and crickets.  Most like mealworms, about 20% like woodlouse.

 

As for containment, talcum powder works well if you got all of the olive oil off.  I just didn't like the mess.  I bought a bottle of fluon and I do like it, it goes a long ways.  I find smaller ants have problems with olive oil, and most walk right over Vaseline.  I found an upside down edge around the outworld when covered with fluon was completely escape proof by even my best escape artists.


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#8 Offline Anhzor - Posted September 17 2014 - 5:15 AM

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out of curiosity doesnt new zealand have no native ants species?



#9 Offline Mads - Posted September 17 2014 - 6:29 AM

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out of curiosity doesnt new zealand have no native ants species?


I think I read somewhere, can't remember where now, that New Zealand has about a dozen native species found only there, bit quite a few introduced species.

Mads

#10 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted September 17 2014 - 6:29 AM

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out of curiosity doesnt new zealand have no native ants species?

I think they have like four.

#11 Offline caswal - Posted September 17 2014 - 4:38 PM

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out of curiosity doesnt new zealand have no native ants species?

 

New Zealand has 11 endemic species, and 1 unique genus only found here (Huberia). That are about 26 or so Invasive species, mostly arrived from Australia.

 

I would really like to find a Huberia striata colony or queen. They are commonly found in beach forests, which luckily surround the hills around me. Just been busy or bad weather the last few weekends to go on another anting trip.

 

The other common species I would like to also get is Monomorium antarcticum. 

 

There is a nice factsheet website here on all species found in NZ both Invasive and Endemic: http://www.landcarer...tsnz/Factsheets But that is also basically the sum of all public knowledge, apart from a few white papers published here and there. I've asked various professors of Entomology about nuptial flight times, and they have no idea.

 

A quick update on the advenus:

 

They seem to like the new setup. Instead of sleeping all the time, they go through waves of 10-20 workers out exploring. Gave them a small piece of apple and a few seemed to go and take a bite. The talcum powder is keeping them in.



#12 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted September 17 2014 - 5:22 PM

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It does not look so good anting in New Zealand, but it has got to be cool when you got an endemic species that exists nowhere else in the world. New Zealand always reminded me of another Galapagos, where there are a handful of species confined to just itself. :) That is cool.



#13 Offline caswal - Posted September 17 2014 - 6:15 PM

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It does not look so good anting in New Zealand, but it has got to be cool when you got an endemic species that exists nowhere else in the world. New Zealand always reminded me of another Galapagos, where there are a handful of species confined to just itself. :) That is cool.

 

I wish the Moa didn't go extinct, as it as close to a dinosaur as you could really get. Then we would also still have the Haast's Eagle.

 

The parliament member of Lower Hutt did a publicity stunt calling for the regions scientific institutions to look at bringing the Moa back within 50 years, as it only relatively recently went extinct (1400 ish). So there is enough remains with genetic material for it to be possible.



#14 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted September 17 2014 - 6:40 PM

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That would be really cool if they succeeded. 



#15 Offline caswal - Posted September 21 2014 - 3:46 AM

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So fed them a live meal worm, and they didn't see to bother it much. I cut it in half before I went to bed and in the morning one half had been partially disassembled and dragged into the test tube. So yay! They are not going to starve, they do eat food.

 

Here are some pictures, nice and super high res if you click through. It also has my simple test tube holder/roof thing I have made. So I can keep them in the dark but easily take off the lid to check on them:

 

KBZAwJM.jpg

 

VbJOmoZ.jpg

 

xnIfJ3J.jpg

 

kQhkY3M.jpg



#16 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 21 2014 - 4:19 AM

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Nice. What is that test tube holder made out of?



#17 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted September 21 2014 - 9:33 AM

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They look funny.  :sarcastic: Its funny how there is Prolasius, Proformica, Proatta, ect.



#18 Offline caswal - Posted September 21 2014 - 3:05 PM

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White ABS plastic.


Nice. What is that test tube holder made out of?

 

White ABS plastic.



#19 Offline caswal - Posted September 26 2014 - 11:50 PM

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Update 27-Sept-2014:

 

They are all in the new formicarium design. I am keeping some tin foil on it at the moment, after a few days I'll take it off and see how they cope.

 

A Video of them munching on mealworm (you can watch in full 1080p HD :D):

 

 

A picture of them snuggled in their formicarium:

 

zBPqgok.jpg



#20 Offline caswal - Posted September 27 2014 - 5:10 AM

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I got bored and made a second video. There is a worker enjoying the mealworm so much, her whole head is almost buried.

 






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