Polyergus/F. Subscericea Setup

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JDSweetMeat
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 1:41 pm
Location: Centralia, Illinois

Polyergus/F. Subscericea Setup

Post: # 59716Post JDSweetMeat
Sun Jun 23, 2019 2:53 am

So, an interesting opportunity recently arose.

I have a friend who raised a mature colony of F. Subscericea, and he is moving away and offered to give me the colony. It looks to have between 500 and 2000 ants (it's hard to tell because his setup is natural and I can't see in most of their nest).

Last weekend, my sister was playing with our dogs and mistakenly fell into a column of raiding Polyergus ants. She got bit about 5-10 times. My parents were going to destroy the colony with poisons, but I managed to convince them to let me try to collect the Polyergus. I was successful, and I captured about 100-150 Polyergus and 100 or so F. Subsericea slaves + a bunch of brood.

So, now I'm left with the issue of what to do with the Polyergus colony. I live in an apartment complex, and there are no slave species living nearby, so I can't just release them. The only colonies of F. Subsericea I've been able to find are in or near my parent's yard (and it would be redundant to just re-release them there).

I have an idea that I would like input on. Both of the colonies have an outworld setup, and I have a spare outworld, so I was considering connecting both of the colony's outworlds to a third shared outworld. Ideally, this would allow my Polyergus to steal slave brood from my Formica colony when needed.

I don't want to kill off the Formica colony, and I also don't want to have to track down and manually steal the brood of wild F. Subscericea colonies. I was wondering if anybody else has experience with this sort of thing? Any advice? Do the Polyergus wipe out Formica colonies in captivity?

Thanks in advance for the responses!

AntsDakota
Posts: 1297
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:22 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: Polyergus/F. Subscericea Setup

Post: # 59732Post AntsDakota
Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:27 pm

JDSweetMeat wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 2:53 am
So, an interesting opportunity recently arose.

I have a friend who raised a mature colony of F. Subscericea, and he is moving away and offered to give me the colony. It looks to have between 500 and 2000 ants (it's hard to tell because his setup is natural and I can't see in most of their nest).

Last weekend, my sister was playing with our dogs and mistakenly fell into a column of raiding Polyergus ants. She got bit about 5-10 times. My parents were going to destroy the colony with poisons, but I managed to convince them to let me try to collect the Polyergus. I was successful, and I captured about 100-150 Polyergus and 100 or so F. Subsericea slaves + a bunch of brood.

So, now I'm left with the issue of what to do with the Polyergus colony. I live in an apartment complex, and there are no slave species living nearby, so I can't just release them. The only colonies of F. Subsericea I've been able to find are in or near my parent's yard (and it would be redundant to just re-release them there).

I have an idea that I would like input on. Both of the colonies have an outworld setup, and I have a spare outworld, so I was considering connecting both of the colony's outworlds to a third shared outworld. Ideally, this would allow my Polyergus to steal slave brood from my Formica colony when needed.

I don't want to kill off the Formica colony, and I also don't want to have to track down and manually steal the brood of wild F. Subscericea colonies. I was wondering if anybody else has experience with this sort of thing? Any advice? Do the Polyergus wipe out Formica colonies in captivity?

Thanks in advance for the responses!
It should work, as I would doubt a hundred or so Polyergus would be able to raid a mature colony of enough brood to eradicate it. Also, if you didn't collect the queen, the colony should die off eventually.
"God made every kind of wild beasts and every kind of livestock and every kind of creeping things;" (including ants) "and God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:25

JDSweetMeat
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 1:41 pm
Location: Centralia, Illinois

Re: Polyergus/F. Subscericea Setup

Post: # 60644Post JDSweetMeat
Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:03 pm

AntsDakota wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:27 pm
JDSweetMeat wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 2:53 am
So, an interesting opportunity recently arose.

I have a friend who raised a mature colony of F. Subscericea, and he is moving away and offered to give me the colony. It looks to have between 500 and 2000 ants (it's hard to tell because his setup is natural and I can't see in most of their nest).

Last weekend, my sister was playing with our dogs and mistakenly fell into a column of raiding Polyergus ants. She got bit about 5-10 times. My parents were going to destroy the colony with poisons, but I managed to convince them to let me try to collect the Polyergus. I was successful, and I captured about 100-150 Polyergus and 100 or so F. Subsericea slaves + a bunch of brood.

So, now I'm left with the issue of what to do with the Polyergus colony. I live in an apartment complex, and there are no slave species living nearby, so I can't just release them. The only colonies of F. Subsericea I've been able to find are in or near my parent's yard (and it would be redundant to just re-release them there).

I have an idea that I would like input on. Both of the colonies have an outworld setup, and I have a spare outworld, so I was considering connecting both of the colony's outworlds to a third shared outworld. Ideally, this would allow my Polyergus to steal slave brood from my Formica colony when needed.

I don't want to kill off the Formica colony, and I also don't want to have to track down and manually steal the brood of wild F. Subscericea colonies. I was wondering if anybody else has experience with this sort of thing? Any advice? Do the Polyergus wipe out Formica colonies in captivity?

Thanks in advance for the responses!
It should work, as I would doubt a hundred or so Polyergus would be able to raid a mature colony of enough brood to eradicate it. Also, if you didn't collect the queen, the colony should die off eventually.
Forgot to mention that I did get the Polyergus queen. Unfortunately, the formica colony got smart after the first raid and skirmishes, and started piling dirt into the tube that connects their outworld to the neutral outworld and Polyergus. The Polyergus and their slaves take forever to clear the tubes, and I think it's really impacted their ability to steal brood. I'll have to figure out some way around this.

(Also, the Polyergus are broing in their nest. They're basically useless except for raiding, which I guess I should have suspected. I did notice a couple of them engaging in weird nonfatal duels with each other, which was... unexpected. Perhaps some sort of display of dominance?)

Hawkeye
Posts: 1053
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Polyergus/F. Subscericea Setup

Post: # 60647Post Hawkeye
Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:30 pm

So the colony is protecting itself from raids by blocking the entrance? Clever girls!

Now I am unfamiliar with that species but wouldn't the slavemaker ants only need so many 'foreign workers' to get their colony going? As i understand it, a queen only needs slaves in the beginning. They're there to forage for their new queen, tend to the nest and care for the brood right? The queen lays eggs, increasing the number of her own species and eventually drowning out the slaves, because they would die off naturally right? Then they produce alates and the whole process begins anew...

As for the fighting ants, could they be training their skills with mock duals?

JDSweetMeat
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 1:41 pm
Location: Centralia, Illinois

Re: Polyergus/F. Subscericea Setup

Post: # 61257Post JDSweetMeat
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:28 pm

Hawkeye wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:30 pm
So the colony is protecting itself from raids by blocking the entrance? Clever girls!

Now I am unfamiliar with that species but wouldn't the slavemaker ants only need so many 'foreign workers' to get their colony going? As i understand it, a queen only needs slaves in the beginning. They're there to forage for their new queen, tend to the nest and care for the brood right? The queen lays eggs, increasing the number of her own species and eventually drowning out the slaves, because they would die off naturally right? Then they produce alates and the whole process begins anew...

As for the fighting ants, could they be training their skills with mock duals?
Polyergus species have evolved in such a way that they are physically incapable of caring for their own brood -- their sharp mandables can and will kill their own eggs/larvae if they try to tend to them manually. Also, as I remember, some Polyergus ants lack social stomachs (don't quote me on this, my memory's a bit hazy) and can't feed themselves without a healthy population of slaves.

Basically, the Polyergus workers are the "soldier" caste of the colony, but the slaves do almost everything else. I suppose the Polyergus workers might be capable of nest building in theory, but in practice that task also falls on the back sof their slaves.

(It's also worth noting that Formica species aren't the only ant species group that the Polyergus species group parasitizes -- Lasius, Tetramorium, and several other genera of ants all have different Polyergus species adapted for parasitizing and enslaving them).

JDSweetMeat
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 1:41 pm
Location: Centralia, Illinois

Re: Polyergus/F. Subscericea Setup

Post: # 61259Post JDSweetMeat
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:53 pm

Hawkeye wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:30 pm
So the colony is protecting itself from raids by blocking the entrance? Clever girls!

Now I am unfamiliar with that species but wouldn't the slavemaker ants only need so many 'foreign workers' to get their colony going? As i understand it, a queen only needs slaves in the beginning. They're there to forage for their new queen, tend to the nest and care for the brood right? The queen lays eggs, increasing the number of her own species and eventually drowning out the slaves, because they would die off naturally right? Then they produce alates and the whole process begins anew...

As for the fighting ants, could they be training their skills with mock duals?
You're confusing Polyergus slavers with Formica slavers. Formica Rufa colonies will raid Formica Fusca colonies for slaves if there are Fusca colonies available, but don't require Fusca slaves to survive (think of it as the Rufa ants deciding that they want to brood boost themselves). Rufa (and many other Formica group ants) are exclusively parasitic during the founding stage, but become self-reliant afterwards.

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