Ant being ejected from the nest.

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Therat
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:42 pm
Location: Australia

Ant being ejected from the nest.

Post: # 32762Post Therat
Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:53 pm

Hello!
I live in Brisbane in Queensland.

I believe I got a tiny colony of 13 ants, Nylanderia or Prolasius I believe (matches the pictures I have seen). Got them since February when the queen ran out from under my keyboard at work. I apologize for the lack of pictures, my Sony Xperia takes absolutely crappy pictures. 5-6 mm in size, dark brown. I cant see their mandibles closely enough to do a teeth count! Sorry!

Where I work, the ant diversity is truly healthy, at least 4-5 different ant species coexisting in various niches, you'll see tiny black ants (Lasius?) to Dolly ants (shiny butts), very quick red ants (not fire ants), even the large sugar ants (Camponotus) whats cool is you'll see the Camponotus only coming out in the late evenings. Interesting how these ants coexist together!

Now, this is my first colony. I've been watching AC videos for over a year. Should be easy right? Test tube, cotton ball plug with water reservoir, dark place, food and then boom! 100 ants in no time? Interestingly the Queen never got rid of her wings. They are now torn and tattered like a cloak!

8 months later, I only have 13 ants (12 workers and the queen). These ants are difficult to breed. Very picky with food, Will love sweet sugar water, then quickly lose interest, lose interest in protein, other fruit etc, I have started to give them injured ants from out back (Lasius), which they seemed to take up and I have not seen any cannibalism in a while, I hope. I leave them alone and yet I still see them eat their young.

I had them in a testtube setup, but recently placed the tube into an Outworld (Ferroro Rocher box), this seemed to reduce their stress levels.

So as a noob, I have searched high and low regarding my ants' behaviour, particularly these species, or if this is typical of ant behaviour.

My questions:
Why do the ants cannibalise the young? Disease? wrong food, so they are starving? Anxiety? Stress? I may have answered my own question, if so, help point this out, and other things I can do!

Next question: this happened today, which prompted this post. One ant appeared to be ejected/exiled from the colony! It appeared to be one of the younger ants, smaller, less brown than the older ant carrying it out! Weirdly only this particular ant seemed to have developed some beef with the exiled one, the rest don't seem to care. The exiled one would be carried out to the other side of the box by this particular ant, only to make its way back into the tube, then would be carried out again. Interestingly, the other ant did not attack it or anything, just lift it up carried out of the next as far away as it could then release it. Poor thing, its going to starve. How did this happen? and how can I prevent this? did its scent change? was it carrying a disease? It does not look like its sick or dying.

So, hopefully these ant species is easy to keep! Fascinating watching ant behaviour, who would've thought!

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

Re: Ant being ejected from the nest.

Post: # 32845Post idahoantgirl
Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:39 pm

Therat wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:53 pm
Hello!
I live in Brisbane in Queensland.

I believe I got a tiny colony of 13 ants, Nylanderia or Prolasius I believe (matches the pictures I have seen). Got them since February when the queen ran out from under my keyboard at work. I apologize for the lack of pictures, my Sony Xperia takes absolutely crappy pictures. 5-6 mm in size, dark brown. I cant see their mandibles closely enough to do a teeth count! Sorry!

Where I work, the ant diversity is truly healthy, at least 4-5 different ant species coexisting in various niches, you'll see tiny black ants (Lasius?) to Dolly ants (shiny butts), very quick red ants (not fire ants), even the large sugar ants (Camponotus) whats cool is you'll see the Camponotus only coming out in the late evenings. Interesting how these ants coexist together!

Now, this is my first colony. I've been watching AC videos for over a year. Should be easy right? Test tube, cotton ball plug with water reservoir, dark place, food and then boom! 100 ants in no time? Interestingly the Queen never got rid of her wings. They are now torn and tattered like a cloak!

8 months later, I only have 13 ants (12 workers and the queen). These ants are difficult to breed. Very picky with food, Will love sweet sugar water, then quickly lose interest, lose interest in protein, other fruit etc, I have started to give them injured ants from out back (Lasius), which they seemed to take up and I have not seen any cannibalism in a while, I hope. I leave them alone and yet I still see them eat their young.

I had them in a testtube setup, but recently placed the tube into an Outworld (Ferroro Rocher box), this seemed to reduce their stress levels.

So as a noob, I have searched high and low regarding my ants' behaviour, particularly these species, or if this is typical of ant behaviour.

My questions:
Why do the ants cannibalise the young? Disease? wrong food, so they are starving? Anxiety? Stress? I may have answered my own question, if so, help point this out, and other things I can do!

Next question: this happened today, which prompted this post. One ant appeared to be ejected/exiled from the colony! It appeared to be one of the younger ants, smaller, less brown than the older ant carrying it out! Weirdly only this particular ant seemed to have developed some beef with the exiled one, the rest don't seem to care. The exiled one would be carried out to the other side of the box by this particular ant, only to make its way back into the tube, then would be carried out again. Interestingly, the other ant did not attack it or anything, just lift it up carried out of the next as far away as it could then release it. Poor thing, its going to starve. How did this happen? and how can I prevent this? did its scent change? was it carrying a disease? It does not look like its sick or dying.

So, hopefully these ant species is easy to keep! Fascinating watching ant behaviour, who would've thought!
I can't say about them carrying the worker away, but as far as eating the young I would guess stress. They would much rather eat food than brood, but they will eat them when under stress. Just take it easy on how often you check on 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

antsRlife
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:27 am
Location: melbourn, victoria
Contact:

Re: Ant being ejected from the nest.

Post: # 32851Post antsRlife
Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:47 pm

hey, i happen to live in Victoria, Australia and i have only been in ant keeping for a couple of months now. and through those couple of months, i have learnt many things, what is right for the ant and what is okay, and bad for the ants. if you could get some photos in for me i may be of help. but what adahoantgirl said, if the queen and workers are eating there eggs and brood, its probably stress.
founding queens:
x2 componotus consobrinus
x1 iridimrmex bicknelli
x5+ Linepithema humile
x1 unknown queen (either phiodole or camponotus)

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