Help ID a Queen

Help with identifying the species your ants

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EarthStudent
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 17, 2018 9:48 pm
Location: Eastern Iowa

Help ID a Queen

Post: # 37556Post EarthStudent
Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:49 pm

I found this queen in my back yard tonight. I was observing a large Formica fusca colony I have in my yard and this queen crawled right across the top of the mound. She's about 8mm long. I'm thinking she is a Formica fossaceps? Is she a parasite? Can't imagine it was coincidence she was on top of a fusca nest? How shall I proceed with her?


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Batspiderfish
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Re: Help ID a Queen

Post: # 37588Post Batspiderfish
Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:58 am

A coincidence. Lasius interjectus, a social parasite of other Lasius. Those ants probably weren't Formica fusca, though.

http://www.formiculture.com/topic/3252-much-ado-about-the-founding-of-lasius-temporary-social-parasites/
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.

EarthStudent
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 17, 2018 9:48 pm
Location: Eastern Iowa

Re: Help ID a Queen

Post: # 37593Post EarthStudent
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:28 am

This is a queen from a nest that a landscaper friend of mine had to destroy for a job, the workers of this nest look identical to three nests I have in my back yard, including the one I found the Lacius interjectus on top of. The workers from these nests look identical so I would assume they are the same species? I can get a picture of a worker if needed. I thought they where Formica fusca? I would like to know what they are because I plan to dig up one of the nests in my lard because it's in a pretty bad spot in my yard and is starting to get pretty big. It's at least 3 years old because I noticed it two years ago and have been keeping an eye on it ever since. It's part of the reason I got into ants. I would prefer to leave it but it's just a couple feet away from my kid's swing set and the mound is several inches above ground level at the moment and seems to be really taking off this year and they seem to be getting more aggressive as well. I may leave it until they have their nuptial flight this year which should be in a month or so correct, if it's indeed Formica? My wife does daycare at home and I feel the nest being so close to the swing set is a bit of a risk for the younger kids.

If it is Formica fusca, was finding this Lasius interjectus queen on top of the nest just a coincidence or do you think this queen was actually thinking about trying to take the nest? Or was she just in the wrong place at the wrong time? The Lacius queen is smaller than the Formica workers so I doubt she ever had much chance of killing the Formica queen since the Formica queen is drastically larger, although size isn't everything.


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EarthStudent
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 17, 2018 9:48 pm
Location: Eastern Iowa

Re: Help ID a Queen

Post: # 37598Post EarthStudent
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:30 am

Since this Lasius interjectus queen is a social parasite, she would require at least a half dozen brood from another Lasius species to start a colony correct? I can't just treat her as a semi-claustral queen and feed her and hope for success without the addition of workers and/or brood?

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Batspiderfish
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Re: Help ID a Queen

Post: # 37601Post Batspiderfish
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:38 am

Like I said, coincidence. The Lasius queen has no way to survive in a Formica colony.

Formica fusca
is a Eurasian species which is now accepted to be Formica subaenescens in North America. They can be separated from Formica in the subsericea complex by the number of gastral segments with silvery pubescence. Fusca-complex Formica only have these fine appressed hairs on the first gastral segment. The pictures are dark, but since this queen appears to have silvery hairs all the way to the third segment, and her antennal scapes (the long, first segment of the antennae) look to be longer than the length of the head (excluding mandibles), I would guess she is Formica subsericea. The other likely alternative is Formica argentea.

All of the important details to caring for Lasius parasites should be outlined in my guide.
Last edited by Batspiderfish on Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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.

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Batspiderfish
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Re: Help ID a Queen

Post: # 37602Post Batspiderfish
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:43 am

As for your swing situation, I'm afraid there's no easy way to remove the colony asides from killing it. On the positive side, Formica help to protect your house/garden from pests. They may be annoying when they crawl on you and feebly bite you, but they are not capable of hurting us.
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.

EarthStudent
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 17, 2018 9:48 pm
Location: Eastern Iowa

Re: Help ID a Queen

Post: # 37623Post EarthStudent
Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:50 pm

I found your social parasite guide as I was waiting for your reply :D . I'm guessing I have little chance of getting this queen into a successful colony. I don't have any other Lasius colonies to steal any callow workers or brood from. Very disappointing, she is a beautiful queen and very tenacious and I would love to keep a citronella ant species, I was really hoping to be able to keep and raise her. :(

Unless... A couple weeks ago I found a colony of ants on a very large old fallen tree under a section of bark. They where pretty small reddish ants around 3mm long. I didn't look super close so I really can't offer much more description than that. Obviously I'm not asking for an identification through this description but does that even sound like a remote possibility for a suitable host species? I know exactly where I can find this colony (if they haven't moved far) and it was surprisingly large in numbers and there was tons of brood. It would be pretty easy to steal some brood and workers from that colony if it was suitable. What species of Lasius would be the best host for this parasitic queen? If I can't find a colony to steal from than it is what it is and I will just release her but I would like to try.

I'm probably trying to bite off more than I can chew... :roll:

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Batspiderfish
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Re: Help ID a Queen

Post: # 37625Post Batspiderfish
Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:07 pm

There are other ants that would fit that description. I would just try to familiarize yourself with what Lasius looks like (how many waist-segments, its shininess, etc.)
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.

EarthStudent
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 17, 2018 9:48 pm
Location: Eastern Iowa

Re: Help ID a Queen

Post: # 37631Post EarthStudent
Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:05 pm

Thanks for all the help. Time to study ;)

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