I accidentally adopted an ant

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BleedingRaindrops
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:33 am
Location: Okinawa

I accidentally adopted an ant

Post: # 18885Post BleedingRaindrops
Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:51 pm

So I was at this barbecue the other day, and in the midst of biting into a nice juicy piece of chicken, I spotted something my eyes have been scanning for constantly for the past few months: an ant alate. But just one, and clearly struggling to keep her wings closed in the wind. Being the scientist I am, I wanted to document her species, as well as get her out of the wind. How did she get so far from her nest on her own? I looked around. Absolutely no workers to speak of, just this single, unfertilized alate. So I guarded her with my hand, which she hid behind almost immediately. I realized I had left all my test tubes back at my room, so I asked my buddy for some help, who kindly drained the last of his water with a very impressive swallow, and handed me the empty bottle. I shook out what water I could, and encouraged the little alate to shelter inside it.

I made my way back to my room, and let her crawl around on my desk for a minute, before offering her a fresh test tube setup, complete with water and a small dot of raw honey. I snapped a few photos of her, and made my way to the door to return her to her colony when I realized something: I have no idea where her colony is. Normally I deposit specimens exactly where I found them (down to the same crumbs of dirt if I can) as quickly as possible, but I had found her on a fold up picnic table, which was likely folded up already. I could search around in the dirt I suppose, but I could never guarantee that I could find the right spot, or that her colony would even accept her back after I found them. No matter where I released her, she would surely die. So, I've kept her, and named her.
Meet Emily.
Image
Being an alate, she will certainly survive longer than just a few months if I can feed her protein and carbohydrates regularly, but since she's unfertilized, she won't lay any eggs, or if she does, they'll be male. And her test tube takes up virtually no space at all, so I am now the proud caretaker of a single alate, though I'm not sure yet on her species. She is about 3mm long and is pretty camera shy, so this is actually the only clear picture I could get. I was able to get a side profile but it's pretty blurry.
Image

Now, normally I would place a queen under a black towel near a heated pad in a drawer I don't use, but I'm not sure about unfertilized alates. I remember hearing that alates like dim lighting. Does anyone have any tips on caring for her? For now I'm going to give her small snacks every few days, and see how she does. This will be interesting. I think I'll make regular updates regardless of how she's doing, just to keep this going.
Ants kept
Nylanderia sp.
Camponotus sp.
Paratrechina Longicornis
Pheidole sp.

JackPayne
Posts: 290
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:28 am
Location: Australia,NSW

Re: I accidentally adopted an ant

Post: # 18893Post JackPayne
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:02 pm

That's a very interesting idea of adopting a singular ant with an unlikely percentage of ever raising a colony. But I can say that providing her her food every couple of days is probably not necessary, maybe once a week. But good luck! :) :D
Hi I'm Jack, How are you?

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Jadeninja9
Posts: 593
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area, California

Re: I accidentally adopted an ant

Post: # 18895Post Jadeninja9
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:10 pm

BleedingRaindrops wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:51 pm
So I was at this barbecue the other day, and in the midst of biting into a nice juicy piece of chicken, I spotted something my eyes have been scanning for constantly for the past few months: an ant alate. But just one, and clearly struggling to keep her wings closed in the wind. Being the scientist I am, I wanted to document her species, as well as get her out of the wind. How did she get so far from her nest on her own? I looked around. Absolutely no workers to speak of, just this single, unfertilized alate. So I guarded her with my hand, which she hid behind almost immediately. I realized I had left all my test tubes back at my room, so I asked my buddy for some help, who kindly drained the last of his water with a very impressive swallow, and handed me the empty bottle. I shook out what water I could, and encouraged the little alate to shelter inside it.

I made my way back to my room, and let her crawl around on my desk for a minute, before offering her a fresh test tube setup, complete with water and a small dot of raw honey. I snapped a few photos of her, and made my way to the door to return her to her colony when I realized something: I have no idea where her colony is. Normally I deposit specimens exactly where I found them (down to the same crumbs of dirt if I can) as quickly as possible, but I had found her on a fold up picnic table, which was likely folded up already. I could search around in the dirt I suppose, but I could never guarantee that I could find the right spot, or that her colony would even accept her back after I found them. No matter where I released her, she would surely die. So, I've kept her, and named her.
Meet Emily.
Image
Being an alate, she will certainly survive longer than just a few months if I can feed her protein and carbohydrates regularly, but since she's unfertilized, she won't lay any eggs, or if she does, they'll be male. And her test tube takes up virtually no space at all, so I am now the proud caretaker of a single alate, though I'm not sure yet on her species. She is about 3mm long and is pretty camera shy, so this is actually the only clear picture I could get. I was able to get a side profile but it's pretty blurry.
Image

Now, normally I would place a queen under a black towel near a heated pad in a drawer I don't use, but I'm not sure about unfertilized alates. I remember hearing that alates like dim lighting. Does anyone have any tips on caring for her? For now I'm going to give her small snacks every few days, and see how she does. This will be interesting. I think I'll make regular updates regardless of how she's doing, just to keep this going.
How do you know if it's unfertilized or not? Wings do not necessarily mean that the queen is unfertilized. Some queens' wings fall off eventually before the workers come, or keep them until the workers arrive then the workers will rip them off. So, yeah she could still be fertilized. Keep her in the dark, and at around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keeper of:
Camponotus Hyatti
Founding:
10x Lasius alienus queens

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Batspiderfish
Posts: 2385
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:47 pm
Location: Maine

Re: I accidentally adopted an ant

Post: # 18897Post Batspiderfish
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:17 pm

I am only assured an ant is unmated if I collect it from its nest before/during a flight.

Can't tell from the pictures, but she's one of the smaller myrmicine ants like Cardiocondyla.
If you enjoy my expertise and identifications, please do not put wild populations at risk of disease by releasing pet colonies. We are responsible to give our pets the best care we can manage for the rest of their lives.

idahoantgirl
Posts: 951
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: I accidentally adopted an ant

Post: # 18900Post idahoantgirl
Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:00 pm

Hold onto her! She very well may be fertilized! And she doesn't need food (unless she is semi claustral. many queens I have caught have their wings and continue keeping their wings for a while. (Sometimes they never shed them)
Proverbs 6:6-8

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Keeping Tetramorium immigrans, Lasius Neoniger

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BleedingRaindrops
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:33 am
Location: Okinawa

Re: I accidentally adopted an ant

Post: # 18977Post BleedingRaindrops
Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:02 pm

Jadeninja9 wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:10 pm
How do you know if it's unfertilized or not? Wings do not necessarily mean that the queen is unfertilized. Some queens' wings fall off eventually before the workers come, or keep them until the workers arrive then the workers will rip them off. So, yeah she could still be fertilized. Keep her in the dark, and at around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Batspiderfish wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:17 pm
I am only assured an ant is unmated if I collect it from its nest before/during a flight.

Can't tell from the pictures, but she's one of the smaller myrmicine ants like Cardiocondyla.
idahoantgirl wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:00 pm
Hold onto her! She very well may be fertilized! And she doesn't need food (unless she is semi claustral. many queens I have caught have their wings and continue keeping their wings for a while. (Sometimes they never shed them)
Well I mostly just assumed since there wasn't a nupital flight that day (that I noticed) and because her gaster isn't swollen like most mated queens I've seen that she was infertile. I suppose I could put her in incubation for a few weeks to see what happens. I have sincere doubts about her laying eggs though.
Ants kept
Nylanderia sp.
Camponotus sp.
Paratrechina Longicornis
Pheidole sp.

Martialis
Posts: 1565
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:30 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: I accidentally adopted an ant

Post: # 18980Post Martialis
Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:28 pm

BleedingRaindrops wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:02 pm
Jadeninja9 wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:10 pm
How do you know if it's unfertilized or not? Wings do not necessarily mean that the queen is unfertilized. Some queens' wings fall off eventually before the workers come, or keep them until the workers arrive then the workers will rip them off. So, yeah she could still be fertilized. Keep her in the dark, and at around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Batspiderfish wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:17 pm
I am only assured an ant is unmated if I collect it from its nest before/during a flight.

Can't tell from the pictures, but she's one of the smaller myrmicine ants like Cardiocondyla.
idahoantgirl wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:00 pm
Hold onto her! She very well may be fertilized! And she doesn't need food (unless she is semi claustral. many queens I have caught have their wings and continue keeping their wings for a while. (Sometimes they never shed them)
Well I mostly just assumed since there wasn't a nupital flight that day (that I noticed) and because her gaster isn't swollen like most mated queens I've seen that she was infertile. I suppose I could put her in incubation for a few weeks to see what happens. I have sincere doubts about her laying eggs though.
She's possibly semi-claustral.
Keeper of

Formica sp.

Tetramorium caespitum

Camponotus chromaiodes

Selliing:

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