BleedingRaindrops's Okinawan Ants

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BleedingRaindrops
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:33 am
Location: California

BleedingRaindrops's Okinawan Ants

Post: # 21903Post BleedingRaindrops
Sun May 28, 2017 9:55 am

Now that I'm keeping Five different species it seems appropriate to just make one big journal. I am super excited to be able to keep these girls. They are just a marvel to care for. It's been about two weeks since I had the Nylanderia and Camponotus queens, a week since I caught a pheidole and paratrechina longicornis queen, and two months since I caught a cardiocondylla queen.

Let's meet the girls.

First up is Anna.
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I caught Anna along with her sisters Bella, Clara, and Donna (and two others who died the first night) just over two weeks ago in the second week of May. She is a Nylanderia sp. queen and is about 5mm long. I haven't seen any eggs from her yet but I'll give her some time to catch up to her sisters.

Next is Bella.
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Bella was the first to give me eggs, producing eight of them the first night. I also saw her mate just before I caught her so I am 100% certain she is fertile. This photo is from two weeks ago because her test tube has a lot of scratches and her most recent photo is too blurry to see the eggs in great detail, but there are at least 20 now, likely more.

Then there is Clara.
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I'm not sure why Clara has kept her wings this far but it certainly hasn't stopped her egg laying production. Look at them all! Clara was the second queen I caught while mating, so I am super excited to raise her.

And now Donna.
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Donna waited a week before giving me any eggs, because she kept tending to a drone that had been captured with her. He survived for two weeks before he curled up! I had no idea drones could make it that far. After he died she paid much more attention to her brood, and I was able to remove him before he rotted. She is now tending nicely to them and they look just as numerous as her sisters'.

That's all for the Nylanderia queens. Now let's meet our Big Camponotus queen: Betty.
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Not having a test tube large enough to contain, let alone capture her, I had to catch Betty in an old medicine vial I had used up. I wasn't even sure she was an ant when I first saw her because not only is she the largest and I've ever seen, she was the only one of her kind that I could see flying that night. I caught Betty on the same night I caught my Nylanderia queens. Check out the videos here.
https://vimeo.com/216004048
https://vimeo.com/216004321
Betty is 15mm long and Jet black, so I'm pretty confident she's Camponotus Pennsylvanicus, but I am all the way in Okinawa so it's possible that's not accurate. Either way, she's big, she's black, she's Betty the Camponotus queen. There's a bit of mold on her cotton ball, which she doesn't seem to mind just yet, but I hope to be able to give her a new container soon. Here's hoping she can hold out. I would love to be able to raise a Camponotus colony.

Next up is Emily.
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Emily is a small myrmicine queen, measuring about 3mm, who I caught in the second week of March. I think she is a Cardiocondylla alate, but I have not been able to get clear enough pictures for a positive ID. She has not laid any eggs, and is beginning to become very sluggish, so I think I should feed her soon. She still has her wings, which only supports my theory that she was just a lone alate who happened to wander too far from the nest. I think it will be really cool to keep her for as long as I can.

(Post too long. Continued on next post)
Ants kept
Nylanderia sp.
Camponotus sp.
Paratrechina Longicornis
Pheidole sp.

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BleedingRaindrops
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:33 am
Location: California

Re: BleedingRaindrops's Okinawan Ants

Post: # 21904Post BleedingRaindrops
Sun May 28, 2017 9:58 am

(Continued from previous post)

And now to my favorite species. Meet Felicia.
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I happened to spot Felicia's colony frantically moving all of their brood on my way to work about two weeks ago. Someone had crushed or otherwise disturbed their nest, and the flurry of activity caught my eye. As I bent down, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. I recognized them as Paratrechina Longicornis, and I was rendered completely speechless when I watched not one, but two queens rush past, ushered along by teams of workers. I have taken to keeping test tubes on me at all times, so I scooped up one of the queens and managed to get one worker for her as well. Felicia and her worker were each carrying a pupa, which you can see have since hatched, and Felicia has obviously been busy laying more eggs since then. I know she is a mature queen because her colony was several hundred strong, so I left her a dot of honey and a crushed termite queen I caught later the same day (it is amazing how quickly termites tear their wings off when they land) since I don't think she has any fat reserves left over from her alate days. I am monitoring their test tube closely for mold, since they haven't eaten the whole termite yet, but I am absolutely ecstatic to own this species, since I know that they don't have external nupital flights and are therefore very difficult to find mature queens for.

Lastly, my pheidole sp. queen: Gina
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Gina was actually a gift from a friend who had spotted her scurrying across the floor of their kitchen. I have previously kept a smaller pheidole colony, who were 4mm, but who died when I failed to recognize mold in their test tubes. Gina is 8mm long and has not yet laid eggs for me, though she likes the warmer end of her test tube, unlike all of my other queens. I have no idea whether or not she has mated, but I guess it will be fun to see.

And that's all of my girls. There was a second, smaller pheidole queen I'd captured last week, but I left too wide a gap when transferring her to a different test tube and she escaped while I wasn't looking. I'll keep updates going once a week for now, possibly more often after I get past the delicate founding stage. My second step into ant keeping is looking great so far, I've learned from my first step mistakes, and I hope to be the proud owner of a strong colony by this time next year.
Ants kept
Nylanderia sp.
Camponotus sp.
Paratrechina Longicornis
Pheidole sp.

User avatar
BleedingRaindrops
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:33 am
Location: California

Re: BleedingRaindrops's Okinawan Ants

Post: # 22262Post BleedingRaindrops
Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:37 am

alright, it's another week and my ant queens have made some exciting progress. Good news and bad.

Bad news first, Anna has died. I suspected she would not do well when she did not lay eggs as fast as the others and it seems my suspicions were correct. I found her beginning to mold when I checked on the girls this morning, which means I am down to three Nylanderia queens. RIP, Anna.

The wonderful news is my other three Nylanderia queens are doing fantastic. All of them have eclosing eggs. Check it out.
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I think Donna's are actually doing the best, despite her spending so long on that silly drone.

Still nothing from Betty, although I did move her to a larger medicine bottle, and removed that moldy cotton ball that was concerning me. I ordered some bigger glass test tubes for her but they arrived broken, so I guess she'll just have to wait a bit longer, but after doing some research on how quickly Camponotus colonies develop, I don't think I'll have much to worry about. Here she is on her new cotton.
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Emily, my cardiocondylla alate, is still doing nothing. I'm going to offer her a bit of apple tomorrow, and go looking for some small insect to offer her.

Felicia, my black crazy ant queen, has been frantically trying to escape her tube and ignoring her eggs. Fortunately her three workers are tending to them, but when I inspected further I discovered the crushed termite I had left for her had begun to mold. No surprise why she'd want out as soon as that happened. I opened up the tube, removed the termite, scrubbed the surrounding area and gave her some fresh cotton. She seems much happier now. Here is a picture of her workers tending to the eggs.
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Finally, my pheidole queen, Gina. She seems comfortable where she is, but I don't think she has mated. I believe she was just a wandering alate who was picked up by my friend when she ventured too far out. I will of course keep her but I am doubtful she will ever produce eggs.


That's all for this week. I won't be updating for a few weeks because I will be on vacation, but I will check in just before I leave to see if I can snap a picture of either Bella, Clara, or Donna's eggs hatching. That would be so cool. Until next week.

Ant Love Forever
Ants kept
Nylanderia sp.
Camponotus sp.
Paratrechina Longicornis
Pheidole sp.

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