I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

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Gavinthesheep1234567
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:04 am

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 31358Post Gavinthesheep1234567
Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:38 pm

I love this journal
Keep us posted
Keeper of
Camponotus noveboracensis 1
L neoniger X 2
Camponotus Pennsulvancus 1

As Mike would say it's Ant Love Forever :D

kykel09
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 31543Post kykel09
Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:20 am

September 18, 2017 UPDATE:

GREAT NEWS EVERYONE!

My first nanantic has officially hatched! Yay! I haven't been able to get any photos of her yet. Her exoskeleton is still soft and she is practically translucent, which is causing her to not show up clearly in the photos. As soon as she darkens a bit more I'll try again and post it up once I have one. As of this morning she had taken on a light orange color. In addition to having my first Ponera P. Nanantic, I have also identified 2 more large larvae and I believe I saw my queen carrying eggs but I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch on that one. Due to the new nanatic and large larvae I provided 3 flies last night. Based on my queens usual eating habits this will inform me when they start start eating more than one fly is providing.

On another note, specific to the environment, my tarheel ants environment that I ordered specifically for her has arrived. I have had a hygrometer in the formicarium for over a week now and the outworld portion of it has maintained a steady 85-90% humidity, which is great. In recent weeks I have experimented with feeding and moisturizing frequency of her sand. I have tried providing her extra flies to see if she consumes them to determine how much she needs. I have also fed her at a frequency of only once every 2 or 3 days on several occasions to see how this affected her. I was not as comfortable with this due to my attachment to this queen (she is definitely my fav) but I felt it was necessary to determine just how long she could got without me feeding her. Making her wait 2 or 3 days seems to be fine with one fly and I have noticed that when I over feed her with 2 flies daily she really only eats one but definitely consumes the extras in the longer periods I don't feed her as frequently. I have changed her moisturizing with varying days. So far, it seems that about 7-10 drops of water in her soil works for daily or every other day and when I do 14 drops, her soil becomes very moist and doesn't require watering for several days. Additionally, when the sand is moister, she tends to move the larvae and cocoons out of the sand and up onto the cotton. As the sand dries, she brings them back down.

I will most definitely be moving them into the tarheel ants formicarium at some point in the near future. I have noticed, and I do not know if this is simply because the first worker recently eclosed, or if it's because it is blind, that this new nanatic doesn't react at all to the light when I expose the test tube. The queen, who does have eyes however, still goes nuts. She still seems to stack the remains in an area of the tube near the cotton. I do not know if this is simply because she is eating them there or if she is creating a trash pile. I have seen other accounts that these ants are messy and do not clean up. As I increase her grazing range I'll be able to get a better idea of this.

So, what we know so far: From the first sighting of eggs (Aug 18, 2017) to now makes about 1 month exactly. So it has roughly a 30 day cycle between egg to worker. She has definitely done better in a test tube with sand than she was doing without. Moisturizing the sand and keeping the tube humid seems to increase her activity level. She is super sensitive to light and immediately flees at even a small amount of exposure. They are very picky eaters. Mine will eat frozen fruit flies or boiled egg yolk but not living flies and I have read several accounts of them not eating fruit flies at all. I have yet to try an isopod but I intend on testing this out sooner or later. I am in the process of acquiring a culture.

Future Plans:
I will wait until she has another worker or two, maybe even more, at which point I will attempt to move them into the tarheel ants formicarium. The current plan is to introduce the test tube into the formicarium directly. The first objective is to get them to leave the test tube simply for foraging purposes to find flies in the outworld so that I no longer have to disturb the tube directly. From there, I may wait for them to venture in on their own or I may connect them directly into the tarheel ants formicarium and encourage them to move out with light and by allowing the sand in the tube to dry out. I am still unsure if she hibernates so I will play this carefully in the upcoming weeks. If anyone finds any research on this, please let me know. That's it for now. Till next update!

kykel09
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 31797Post kykel09
Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:26 am

UPDATE: September 25, 2017

Bad news...

So, unfortunately I have bad news. My Ponera P. worker died yesterday. I attempted to connect my test tube up to a small outworld that was 3-D printed (you can see it in earlier photos. It's a small black 3-D printed box). It had a layer of sand substrate in it and moist cotton balls stuffed in the sides to keep the outworld humid. This was an experiment I had planning for a while. I wanted to (1) see if the Ponera P. can climb the walls of 3-D printed formicariums and (2) try to introduce an outworld that would maintain humidity and allow me to feed them more effectively without disturbances. I felt this 3-D printed one fit the right criteria. I attached this outworld during the evening on Saturday, the 23rd. When I attached the outworld, I also added a fruit fly.

Here's where I think I messed up.
I had also caught a small silver fish earlier in the day, that was only slightly larger than the worker and by the following morning (24th) I saw no evidence that the fly in the outworld had been touched overnight. This was logical since I had also put a fly in the test tube. However, I was worried that the silver fish would die too soon and I wouldn't have the opportunity to see if the Ponera P. would hunt for it so I put it in the outworld that morning (24th) to see if the worker would hunt, kill and potentially eat it. I know from my research that Ponera P. are predacious and are hunters of small soft belly arthropods. Thus, this seemed logical.

However, when I came back to check later that day (late night of the 24th), the worker was dead. I am unsure if the silver fish killed it or if something else happened. In this particular circumstance, I tainted my data by adding in the silver fish before really confirming that the ant was okay with the environment I had added. The entire purpose of the fruit fly was to determine if the ant was exploring the outworld. I can only logically determine that the silver fish in some way attacked and killed the Ponera worker.

I can't really think of anything else that would have contributed to her dying, especially in only a day's time. I feel like if the humidity was the issue it wouldn't have killed her so fast and she probably would have fled back into the tube anyway. The silver fish is the only thing that makes sense. Maybe, if the humidity wasn't enough and it could kill her in a day then it could be possible she got trapped and couldn't climb back out of the outworld or maybe she just couldn't find her way back but I feel like this is a stretch. I think the silver fish was to blame as it's the only thing that makes sense. So, in vengeance I killed the silver fish and fed her to the queen... Yeah... That part wasn't for science...

Anyway, I do know that there is still at least one confirmed larvae in the test tube. So in a few weeks I will at least have a new worker, to which I will be much more careful with this time. No more live prey.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get very good photos of the worker before she passed.

Next:
My next plan is to test ways to utilize grout. I came up with in an experiment to try to find a good way to make grout better with water. I'm going to try four different things and compare them. I will make 4 grout setups.
1. Grout and playground sand mixture (in various parts - 1-1, 2-1, 1-2).
2. Place small balloon inside grout to create a well that I can fill with water after removing the balloon.
3. Do the same thing as step 2 but rather than fill the well directly with water, fill it with cotton first.
4. Control group: Regular grout.

The purpose of this experiment is just to test different ways of hydrating grout.

Till next time.

Dearth335

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 32322Post Dearth335
Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:22 pm

congrats, i cant belive this topic got so many replies. My Ponera queen died. :( but :lol:

kykel09
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 32335Post kykel09
Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:32 pm

UPDATE October 14, 2017

I'm afraid I have sad news. This past week I attempted to move my Ponera into my specially ordered Tarheel Ants formicarium. Unfortunately, it was not properly designed and there was a small crevice in the rock that my Ponera P. was able to get into. This crevice unfortunately allowed her to reach the hole in the screen of the water reservoir where the refill tube punched through and fall in. Unfortunately, by the time I realized this, she had already drowned. With her having drowned, her one remaining larvae was trapped in its cocoon and it too died without ever eclosing. I'm sad this happened as things were going so well. This only went sour because of the unfortunate design in the flaw of the formicarium that I didn't realize was there before hand. Had I realized this was an issue, I would have filled this crevice with grout, or cotton at least before allowing her access. I will have to try again next year if I manage to catch another Ponera P. or if I can manage to find one prior. The one upside to this is I did learn a lot about the care of this species outside what is provided in the AntsCanada care sheet and book. Maybe I will make a post in the future about care if I can manage to to successfully rear a colony.

I will end this story here and in the future will start a new blog should I manage to attain access to a new Ponera queen. Until then, ant love forever guys.

Gavinthesheep1234567
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:04 am

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 32352Post Gavinthesheep1234567
Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:13 pm

Terrible
Keeper of
Camponotus noveboracensis 1
L neoniger X 2
Camponotus Pennsulvancus 1

As Mike would say it's Ant Love Forever :D

idahoantgirl
Posts: 945
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 32398Post idahoantgirl
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:30 pm

kykel09 wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:32 pm
UPDATE October 14, 2017

I'm afraid I have sad news. This past week I attempted to move my Ponera into my specially ordered Tarheel Ants formicarium. Unfortunately, it was not properly designed and there was a small crevice in the rock that my Ponera P. was able to get into. This crevice unfortunately allowed her to reach the hole in the screen of the water reservoir where the refill tube punched through and fall in. Unfortunately, by the time I realized this, she had already drowned. With her having drowned, her one remaining larvae was trapped in its cocoon and it too died without ever eclosing. I'm sad this happened as things were going so well. This only went sour because of the unfortunate design in the flaw of the formicarium that I didn't realize was there before hand. Had I realized this was an issue, I would have filled this crevice with grout, or cotton at least before allowing her access. I will have to try again next year if I manage to catch another Ponera P. or if I can manage to find one prior. The one upside to this is I did learn a lot about the care of this species outside what is provided in the AntsCanada care sheet and book. Maybe I will make a post in the future about care if I can manage to to successfully rear a colony.

I will end this story here and in the future will start a new blog should I manage to attain access to a new Ponera queen. Until then, ant love forever guys.
Blah! No! Dont throw her away! She is most likely alive!!!! It is ridiculously hard to drown an ant. Like many ants can be submerged under water for days and they will be fine once dried out. And most ants can at least survive 24 hours submerged. If you still have her, set her out on a dry surface and she will revive.
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

kykel09
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 32414Post kykel09
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:06 am

I actually tried that. I actually drained the water basin but due to it being built in I wasn't actually able to get her out. Her body hasn't moved. She's definitely dead unfortunately. Now I'm just trying to determine if I should leave her body in there or if I should cut open the mesh to get her out.

idahoantgirl
Posts: 945
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Idaho, USA

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 32420Post idahoantgirl
Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:15 am

kykel09 wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:06 am
I actually tried that. I actually drained the water basin but due to it being built in I wasn't actually able to get her out. Her body hasn't moved. She's definitely dead unfortunately. Now I'm just trying to determine if I should leave her body in there or if I should cut open the mesh to get her out.
I wouldnt destroy your nest if I were you. Maybe try flushing water through one of the openings to get her out? like hold the nest under the sink?
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

kykel09
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: I'm new! My introduction! And my Ants! Featuring Ponera Pennsylvannica!

Post: # 32439Post kykel09
Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:04 pm


I wouldnt destroy your nest if I were you. Maybe try flushing water through one of the openings to get her out? like hold the nest under the sink?
So today I managed to take some really thin wire and wrapped cotton around it. Using this weird wire/cotton contraption, I was able to remove my dearly departed Ponera's body from the water dish without damaging the rest of the nest. Unfortunately, she came out in pieces but as she was already dead it doesn't really matter at this point. I gave her a moment of silence before finally disposing of her remains.

RIP Ponera Queen, aka Lucy. I shall miss you.

I intend to move my ants into formicariums this weekend as they are becoming difficult to manage in test tubes. I have 3 safeway 3-D printed formicariums, one 3-D printed Ants Russia formicarium and my Tarheel Ants (pending filling in the cracks with grout first). As of now, I am keeping one Lasius Neoniger colony and one Pheidole Bicarinata. I have two Pheidole colonies but both already have workers so I'm unsure if introducing them will work and I'm curious to attempt it but also worry about the potential risk to the queens. I may do it simply for science. Any suggestions on how?

If I don't, I may sell them.

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