An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

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kykel09
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45564Post kykel09
Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:24 am

Hi all,

So, I've had a suspicion of something since last year and that is that parasitic queens are semi-claustral. Now, I tried research this and turns out nobody really seems to know this. My theory comes from this.

Since summer of last year, I've caught 9 parasitic queens. Them being a variety of Lasius Umbratus, Lasius claviger, and Lasius lapites. At least, from my own research this is the closest I can confirm the species.

Now, 8 of the queens have all died at this point, and most of the time they die within only a week or two of catching them. The exception, ant number 9, is the one queen that I have kept an active supply of honey in her test tube, even through hibernation last year. Now, I had the suspicion that they were starving to death as I personally don't see the biological point of a parasite queen being claustral. Nature has a way of weeding out pointless adaptions and as parasitic queens invade other nests shortly after nuptial flights, there is little reason to need large fat stores. The fact that my one queen with an active food supply has survived so long whilst all my others without food died adds some evidence to this.

However, I still wanted to see if I could find some supporting evidence, and boy did I. Now, it's a long read, For your viewing pleasure, I discovered a dissertation written on a capture and study of over 100 parasite Lasius queens. The ants were separated into various groups and various tests were performed. In the paper, every single parasite queen that wasn't fed died within 20 days of capture. Additionally, 40 queens were put into hibernation to test whether they would start a colony themselves (without hosts) post-hibernation. All 40 queens failed to lay a single egg. This is just the tip of the iceberg. This paper provided so much good information. It also really shed some light on the various host/parasite systems such as which host colonies species particular parasite queens are more successful with.

I've provided the link for the paper below. It's a free download. Feel free to take a look if you're interested. I'm hoping it helps me to perform my experiment to introduce my current lasius claviger queen to a neoniger host setup.

Resource:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227130142_Colony_founding_and_social_parasitism_in_Lasius_Acanthomyops
Maryland GAN Farmer

Owns:
Lasius Neoniger
Camponotus Noveborecensis
Camponotus Nearcticus
Solenopsis Molesta (7 queen colony)
Phiedole Bicarinata (3 queen colony)

WIP:
Lasius Claviger (parasite queen)

NKantsalberta
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed May 23, 2018 6:48 pm
Location: Alberta

Re: An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45684Post NKantsalberta
Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:00 am

Usually parasite queens arent claustral as they invade an already established colony with workers to forage for food and care for the queen... And they dont have the food reserves to last long periods without food due to their small gastors when compared to claustral queens. Dont need to do much research to figure that out. But good work non the less
Founding 3x Camponotus novaeboracensis, 5x Formica sp

Keeping 1x Myrmica Sp

LiveMalik
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:24 pm

Re: An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45829Post LiveMalik
Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:01 pm

Did you feed just honey..or also protein?

kykel09
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45900Post kykel09
Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:21 am

LiveMalik wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:01 pm
Did you feed just honey..or also protein?
Primarily honey. I have placed a fruit fly and recently killed termite in there before but I've never seen any evidence that she attempted to feed on them. She definitely actively pursues the honey though.

Also, the guide goes a lot into which parasite queens went after which host species and the levels of success so I would recommend paying attention to that in the report. I believe it's around page 54. I found it interesting that all the documentation I've come across says Lasius neoniger was a host to Lasius claviger yet in the dissertation Lasius americanus was actually the more successful host species for claviger.
Maryland GAN Farmer

Owns:
Lasius Neoniger
Camponotus Noveborecensis
Camponotus Nearcticus
Solenopsis Molesta (7 queen colony)
Phiedole Bicarinata (3 queen colony)

WIP:
Lasius Claviger (parasite queen)

LiveMalik
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:24 pm

Re: An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45918Post LiveMalik
Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:54 pm

good info.. and thanks. honestly i have a hard time discerning the species. im going to try to collect some workers and brood from around where i found her and see if that helps. she was id as Lasius aphidicolus

kykel09
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45929Post kykel09
Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:44 pm

LiveMalik wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:54 pm
good info.. and thanks. honestly i have a hard time discerning the species. im going to try to collect some workers and brood from around where i found her and see if that helps. she was id as Lasius aphidicolus
I know the feeling. I find there is always 2 or 3 species that are so close that it's hard to tell them apart. Good examples are Lasius Neoniger and Lasius americanus are often difficult to tell apart without looking at their mandible teeth with a microscope. amaricanus and neoniger do tend to have a slight color variation, americanus is often slightly darker in color but telling aphidicola and umbratus apart, I have no idea. I'm hoping as I work on my ant guide I'll eventually find ways to differentiate them a bit better for us ant keepers.
Maryland GAN Farmer

Owns:
Lasius Neoniger
Camponotus Noveborecensis
Camponotus Nearcticus
Solenopsis Molesta (7 queen colony)
Phiedole Bicarinata (3 queen colony)

WIP:
Lasius Claviger (parasite queen)

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Batspiderfish
Posts: 3338
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:47 pm
Location: Maine

Re: An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45945Post Batspiderfish
Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:30 pm

Lasius aphidicolus and Lasius umbratus are virtually identical and only differentiated through genetic testing. However, this test went to show that Lasius umbratus does not actually exist in North America. We named the new species Lasius aphidicolus, which means "fuzzy ant that farms aphids".

Regarding Lasius americanus, Lasius neoniger, and Lasius pallitarsis:
Lasius americanus has no erect hairs on its antennal scapes.
Lasius neoniger has many erect hairs on the antennal scapes.
Lasius pallitarsis has many erect hairs on the antennal scapes, and an offset basal tooth (the furthest tooth up the mandible is not alligned with rest -- sometimes it look like the species has six teeth instead of the normal seven).

Lasius social parasites could have more consistent host species in the wild, but in captivity it would seem that colonies may be founded with a range of host species. My Lasius latipes and Lasius aphidicolus colonies were both raised on Lasius nearcticus.
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.

kykel09
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45946Post kykel09
Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:01 pm

Batspiderfish wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:30 pm
Lasius aphidicolus and Lasius umbratus are virtually identical and only differentiated through genetic testing. However, this test went to show that Lasius umbratus does not actually exist in North America. We named the new species Lasius aphidicolus, which means "fuzzy ant that farms aphids".

Regarding Lasius americanus, Lasius neoniger, and Lasius pallitarsis:
Lasius americanus has no erect hairs on its antennal scapes.
Lasius neoniger has many erect hairs on the antennal scapes.
Lasius pallitarsis has many erect hairs on the antennal scapes, and an offset basal tooth (the furthest tooth up the mandible is not alligned with rest -- sometimes it look like the species has six teeth instead of the normal seven).

Lasius social parasites could have more consistent host species in the wild, but in captivity it would seem that colonies may be founded with a range of host species. My Lasius latipes and Lasius aphidicolus colonies were both raised on Lasius nearcticus.
Thank you Batspiderfish. Do you have any resources for this (non-wiki, scholary papers, etc.)? I'm trying to find anything can be helpful in putting together my identification guide. So far, I've built a list of North American genera and the next step is to narrow down to as many North American species within the various genera.
Maryland GAN Farmer

Owns:
Lasius Neoniger
Camponotus Noveborecensis
Camponotus Nearcticus
Solenopsis Molesta (7 queen colony)
Phiedole Bicarinata (3 queen colony)

WIP:
Lasius Claviger (parasite queen)

User avatar
Batspiderfish
Posts: 3338
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:47 pm
Location: Maine

Re: An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45947Post Batspiderfish
Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:16 pm

kykel09 wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:01 pm
Thank you Batspiderfish. Do you have any resources for this (non-wiki, scholary papers, etc.)? I'm trying to find anything can be helpful in putting together my identification guide. So far, I've built a list of North American genera and the next step is to narrow down to as many North American species within the various genera.
http://www.formiculture.com/topic/583-the-list-of-handy-links/

The links at the bottom of this list contain all of the online resources I use.
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.

kykel09
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: An observation I've made with Parasitic Lasius Queens and supporting research, Severn MD

Post: # 45948Post kykel09
Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:24 pm

Batspiderfish wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:16 pm
kykel09 wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:01 pm
Thank you Batspiderfish. Do you have any resources for this (non-wiki, scholary papers, etc.)? I'm trying to find anything can be helpful in putting together my identification guide. So far, I've built a list of North American genera and the next step is to narrow down to as many North American species within the various genera.
http://www.formiculture.com/topic/583-the-list-of-handy-links/

The links at the bottom of this list contain all of the online resources I use.
Thanks!
Maryland GAN Farmer

Owns:
Lasius Neoniger
Camponotus Noveborecensis
Camponotus Nearcticus
Solenopsis Molesta (7 queen colony)
Phiedole Bicarinata (3 queen colony)

WIP:
Lasius Claviger (parasite queen)

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