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Aaron's Parasitic Dorymyrmex Journal (Updated 4/22/20)

dorymyrmex parasitic socialparasite parasite

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#1 Offline Aaron567 - Posted March 25 2018 - 3:33 PM

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March 25, 2018

 

Just over a week ago (March 18), I caught two Dorymyrmex queens, which were my first Dorymyrmex of this year. After inspecting them closely, I determined them to be Dorymyrmex smithi. I had no idea these were parasitic until I actually read a little bit about them. 

 

sUDewgC.jpg

 

 

One of the queens is wingless while the other is winged. This journal is on the wingless queen because she is probably more likely to be fertile. I gave the queens sugar water immediately after catching them.

 

zcGZO8E.jpg

 

 

 

Today, I thought it would be a good idea to go outside and attempt to get some brood out of one of the many Dorymyrmex bureni nests that occur all around my backyard. This is the most common Dorymyrmex here so they would be the best host species to get brood from. After one scoop of a shovel, I had already uncovered some brood. I collected 4 pupae and several larvae. I am not going to use callow workers to give to my parasitic queen because I do not think she needs them. The pupae are naked, anyway.

 

I put the pupae and larvae into the test tube with the D. smithi queen, and she actually picked up one pupa and would not set it down until I left her alone.

 

6Xnd6XA.jpg

dGMkPQM.jpg

 

 

After waiting an hour or so, I checked to see that she had all the brood piled together, seeming to be taking care of it. I do not know if she will be able to care for those larvae, but it's worth a try. I hope at least one intact worker hatches out, because I might've accidentally injured some of those pupae.

 

ecNMSTF.jpg

 

 

 

I will keep this updated on what happens in the next few days. I am not sure if this will work out (I've never seen anyone keeping parasitic Dorymyrmex), but if anyone else happens to catch a socially parasitic Dorymyrmex queen, they can see my experience with them.


Edited by Aaron567, April 22 2020 - 3:35 PM.

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#2 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted March 25 2018 - 5:14 PM

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Looking forward to this journal!

Dorymyrmex are native to where I live, but I've never seen any. That plus the fact that these are parasitic will definitely make a cool journal (also makes me a tad jealous, but whatever).


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#3 Offline Dnail - Posted March 25 2018 - 8:07 PM

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cool!! looking forward for update


Colony:

2 Odontomachus aciculatus 

2 Polyrachis Dives

3 Camponotus sp


#4 Offline Aaron567 - Posted March 27 2018 - 6:58 AM

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March 27, 2018

 

Small update.

 

The queen rejected 3 out of the 4 pupae due to them having injuries/deformities from when I dug them up. There is one perfect pupa left, and all 7 larvae are still left. The only pupa is starting to darken and two of the larvae are soon to pupate. She has been very persistent at taking care of the brood. 


Edited by Aaron567, March 29 2018 - 7:13 PM.

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#5 Offline Aaron567 - Posted March 29 2018 - 7:08 PM

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March 29, 2018

 

We have eggs today! What a surprise.

 

NEp5Bxy.jpg

 

I did not expect her to lay eggs before even getting host workers. I guess she feels like she is settled and comfortable enough to do so. There is still one pupa and seven larvae. The seventh larva is absent from the picture below because it is being carried by the queen. By now, most of the larvae are getting ready to pupate, so there should be some new pupae in the next few days.

 

9UgZ0Zy.jpg


Edited by Aaron567, April 13 2018 - 6:15 PM.

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#6 Offline 123LordOfAnts123 - Posted March 29 2018 - 8:05 PM

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Very nice find; I’ll be watching closely!

I’ve only encountered D. smithi a few times in Central Florida. D. reginicula is far more commonly encountered in my experience, especially around scrub, coastal sand dunes and beaches where other Dorymyrmex thrive in dense populations. I’ve yet to encounter a wingless queen despite observing some large flights. The few parasitic Dorymyrmex species are intriguing in that their nests are often far more populous in maturity than the species they usurp, despite the fact their queens are much smaller. I can only imagine they must become extremely physogastric to compensate for their small gasters yet high fecundity.
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#7 Offline Aaron567 - Posted March 29 2018 - 10:55 PM

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Very nice find; I’ll be watching closely!
I’ve only encountered D. smithi a few times in Central Florida. D. reginicula is far more commonly encountered in my experience, especially around scrub, coastal sand dunes and beaches where other Dorymyrmex thrive in dense populations. I’ve yet to encounter a wingless queen despite observing some large flights. The few parasitic Dorymyrmex species are intriguing in that their nests are often far more populous in maturity than the species they usurp, despite the fact their queens are much smaller. I can only imagine they must become extremely physogastric to compensate for their small gasters yet high fecundity.


That sounds awesome. I actually found a winged Dorymyrmex reginicula queen last June, despite the species not having records anywhere near where I live (far western panhandle).
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#8 Offline Aaron567 - Posted April 4 2018 - 2:38 PM

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April 4, 2018

 

The first host worker (D. bureni) just eclosed within the last couple hours. She's so new that she's not moving around yet :)

 

4ObkdaT.jpg

 

There are no more larvae left because one of them died and the rest pupated. That leaves us with one worker, 6 pupae, and around 10 or 11 eggs now. I am just about to hook up a little outworld to their test tube for when the worker fully wakes up and starts foraging.

 

I love how the queen's gaster looks.

 

njsFcJG.jpg

 

In addition, here is a cool picture from yesterday where you could see all of the brood up close and easily:

 

sqKCe9z.jpg


Edited by Aaron567, April 13 2018 - 6:17 PM.

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#9 Offline Jamiesname - Posted April 4 2018 - 3:40 PM

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Looks good man, keep up the good work!

#10 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted April 4 2018 - 3:46 PM

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What do you use to take these pictures? Outstanding quality!!! Keep up the great work.

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#11 Offline Aaron567 - Posted April 13 2018 - 6:25 PM

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April 14, 2017

 

Today we have four host workers, 2 pupae, several eggs, and the D. smithi larvae are starting to hatch out of their eggs.

 

You can see one larva and some mid-hatching in this picture.

 

vnktV8K.jpg

 

 

Pictures of the D. bureni workers having fun and not knowing that they will soon be accompanied by D. smithi workers in the near future.

 

93zzCVQ.jpg

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30AoxxZ.jpg

NttH0Z2.jpg


Edited by Aaron567, April 13 2018 - 6:38 PM.

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#12 Offline antnest8 - Posted April 17 2018 - 1:45 PM

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looking good


have 1 camponotus queen

1 crematogaster queen

5 lasius umbratus queens


#13 Offline Jamiesname - Posted April 17 2018 - 3:45 PM

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What do you use to take these pictures? Outstanding quality!!! Keep up the great work.


I'm curious also. . .

#14 Offline AnthonyP163 - Posted April 17 2018 - 3:56 PM

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What do you use to take these pictures? Outstanding quality!!! Keep up the great work.


I'm curious also. . .

 

He uses a "canon rebel SL1/100D" with an attached macro lens


Edited by AnthonyP163, April 17 2018 - 3:56 PM.


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#15 Offline AntsUSA - Posted April 18 2018 - 8:01 PM

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This is very interesting ! I have been following your updates on Instagram but there is a few more interesting photos in the forums. Keep up the good work! 



#16 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted April 19 2018 - 6:17 PM

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What do you use to take these pictures? Outstanding quality!!! Keep up the great work.

I'm curious also. . .
He uses a "canon rebel SL1/100D" with an attached macro lens
Would you mind linking the macro attachment? I'm do jealous of those photos :lol:

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#17 Offline AnthonyP163 - Posted April 20 2018 - 7:51 PM

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What do you use to take these pictures? Outstanding quality!!! Keep up the great work.

I'm curious also. . .
He uses a "canon rebel SL1/100D" with an attached macro lens
Would you mind linking the macro attachment? I'm do jealous of those photos :lol:

I don't know what macro lens he uses and I don't think he does either, any diopter will probably work well.



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#18 Offline jtremain - Posted April 23 2018 - 5:13 PM

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What camera and lens are you using for these pics? Thanks.



#19 Offline antnest8 - Posted April 24 2018 - 1:33 PM

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did you read the post before yours?


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have 1 camponotus queen

1 crematogaster queen

5 lasius umbratus queens


#20 Offline Aaron567 - Posted June 11 2018 - 5:36 PM

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June 11, 2018

 

After many weeks, the first smithi (parasitic) pupa has finally arrived.

 

bD1dHi1.jpg

 

The larva in the last update quickly got eaten before it could grow. The colony would not stop eating their eggs and it was preventing them from ever getting any larvae. I realized they only ate their eggs when they had no other brood, as if it stressed them out to not have any larvae or pupae. A few host workers also suddenly died, bringing them down to just three.

 

A couple weeks ago I brood boosted them with a few more larvae and pupae from a wild D. bureni colony. This brood boost brought them up to six workers, just before yet another worker died. Shortly after this same brood boost, I noticed a single tiny larva, which ended up turning into the pupa you see in the picture above. The bureni brood you can also see in the picture is from their recent brood boost which I did yesterday. It is just tiny nanitic brood from my current founding D. bureni queens. I will need to continue to give the colony more host brood to keep them from eating the smithi eggs.

 

KKgwS15.jpg


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