A Tale of Two Nanitics

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Antsanyone
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:10 pm
Location: Ohio, United States

A Tale of Two Nanitics

Post: # 66843Post Antsanyone
Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:48 pm

So, I've got this colony of a Camponotus sp. that I've had for about three years now. This is my first queen who is still alive (and coincidentally, my first queen). The first summer she laid a lot of eggs, but only got two nanitics out of the batch (I assume some of these were trophic eggs, but there were more than two larvae). I noticed that one ant, the smaller one, was designated to stay by the queen and nurse the young, while the other would scout around for any offerings I had left. I didn't give her a really definite hibernation, although I live in Ohio, because in trying to calm down a different queen I accidentally froze her (two minutes in the freezer and she was dead, sadly), and I was afraid of freezing my little Camponutus colony. It did get down to around 60 degrees inside at times, though, so I was kind of hoping it would be enough.

Well, the next spring, the queen laid a few eggs, but she and her nanitics ate them. I had been giving them plenty of food, but I thought maybe they needed somewhere to explore, so I gave them a miniature outworld about an inch high, two inches wide, and three inches long. I fed them honey (they accepted the honey), cricket legs (they ignored them), and the head of a superworm (they rejected that). They accepted some corn syrup, but clearly weren't fans. There were no new nanitics through the whole season, and when winter came, I again did not hibernate the colony.

The next spring, still no activity, no eggs, no larvae. I tried other food sources in an attempt to fill some void in their diet... all-fruit blackberry jelly and saltless eggs scrambled in coconut oil (for some reason, the forager nanitic took little dabs of the jelly and decorated the egg crumb with it... why, I don't know, it was very strange). I continued to feed them with honey and protein offerings. Then I gave them some more honey one day, just a drop, you know. Well, the forager nanitic got stuck in it, and I found her hours later still struggling to get out. I fished her out with a tiny plastic rod, and helped her to the tube entrance to their test tube. The next day, she was back in the honey, looking quite drowned. I fished her out again, but she was so covered she couldn't stand up. Unfortunately, I was late for church and couldn't help her, so I desperately poured a teaspoon of water on her, and headed out the door. I came back to find her out of the honey and the water, looking damp and slightly miserable on the far side of the outworld, away from the tube leading to their nest. Using the little rod, I led her across the honey swamp and to her home. I neglected, however, to clean the outworld immediately, for I had pressing business elsewhere, and I assumed she would be too tired to return to the outworld.

The next morning, she was in the swamp, completely drowned. I was heartbroken! The queen had no eggs at the time, and I was terrified I would lose my colony. The rest of the season passed, and then I removed the outworld, coaxed the queen and her remaining daughter through a rubber tube and into a tiny nest (plastic box an inch wide by an inch tall by two inches long) furnished with cotton that I spray every couple of days. I gave them a few drops of sugar water at the opposite end of the rubber tube, which I blocked the end of with a test tube full of water. About two weeks later, the queen started laying eggs again. The eggs have developed into healthy-looking larvae in various stages, and I hope to possibly see more nanitics sometime in the next couple months or so!

However, I don't know why this happened, what exactly all of this was, and what I did that made the queen start egg production again. If anyone knows, I would love to hear the explanation for the egg-pause, the jelly sprinkles, or the suicidal nanitic!
Wannabe entomologist
Current colonies:
Campnotus sp.
Dream ants:
Carebara castanea, Cephalotes, Atta texana
Calyptomyrmex, Discothyrea mixta, Melissotarsus spp.
Proatta, Rhytidoponera aspersa, Gigantiops ... actually, most ants.

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Antsanyone
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:10 pm
Location: Ohio, United States

Re: A Tale of Two Nanitics

Post: # 67440Post Antsanyone
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:52 pm

I'm guessing no one knows about any of this, then... probably shouldn't have put this under "FREQUENTLY asked questions," LOL :lol:
Wannabe entomologist
Current colonies:
Campnotus sp.
Dream ants:
Carebara castanea, Cephalotes, Atta texana
Calyptomyrmex, Discothyrea mixta, Melissotarsus spp.
Proatta, Rhytidoponera aspersa, Gigantiops ... actually, most ants.

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