Aphids

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Glowbug1236
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:08 am

Aphids

Post: # 63963Post Glowbug1236
Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:13 pm

Hello,
Im planning the next home for my Pheidole Dentigula.
I've often wondered if their diet is diverse enough, as they seem to be very very picky eaters.
So im considering aphids on the appropriate plant in this new home.
- Do any of you know, or can point me in the right direction, of information on aphids and where to buy them?
- I've looked on numerous plants and can't find the right ones. (Found the toxic Oleander Aphid).

Also considering Mealybugs.

The "appropriate" plant will be good for the feeder bugs, but be small and grow slow due to the small habitat.

Thank you and have a great week!

Hawkeye
Posts: 1560
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Aphids

Post: # 64213Post Hawkeye
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:05 am

There are toxic aphids?

Glowbug1236
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:08 am

Re: Aphids

Post: # 64282Post Glowbug1236
Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:14 am

Hawkeye wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:05 am
There are toxic aphids?
Yep, some aphids from what I've read, are toxic to some insects.
After reading that, i looked closer, and realized that my ants would not go near these Oleander Aphids. So i removed the aphids.
Next, i tried some Mealybugs. It didn't work.
What i think happened, is either one or both of two things..
1. The aphids need to be on the right plant. In this case, the succulents in my habitat are not plants from which these Mealybugs can create honeydew. And so the ants found no interest in them and generally stayed away (though not as "far away" as from the toxic and aggressive Oleander Aphids).
2. Perhaps the Pheidole Dentigula do not harvest from aphids or mealybugs, though i suspect they would.

Im researching which sappy plants and trees grow in P. Dentigula territory, and will find a honeydew producing insect to try.
I may need to head to the upper lowland forests and do a search.
So as a disclaimer, I'm far from an expert on any of this. Being somewhat of a polymath, I'm not an expert on much at all, typically dabbling in many things all at once.

After switching to flightless gnats, my ants have become WAY more energetic! They are eating 20 to 30 gnats a day, and i haven't tried to give them more, though I'll bet they would eat them.
***Im a little concerned with feeding too much, though have read that they will eat what they need..
Any ideas on this?
It's a small colony, maybe 50 workers I'm guessing.
A couple months ago, they were attacked by Pharaoh ants, which cut their population in half.
It was terrible! Very upsetting. Looking at them now, they have not recovered yet, but are really really happy and vibrant with the addition of these gnats, which they seem to prefer alive to hunt.

Hawkeye
Posts: 1560
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:38 pm
Location: Almelo

Re: Aphids

Post: # 64285Post Hawkeye
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:05 am

Ants can't overeat they can only fill their stomachs to a certain size due to the limitations by their exoskeleton. They might gather and store food for a rainy day though.

Glowbug1236
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:08 am

Re: Aphids

Post: # 64311Post Glowbug1236
Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:58 pm

Hawkeye wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:05 am
Ants can't overeat they can only fill their stomachs to a certain size due to the limitations by their exoskeleton. They might gather and store food for a rainy day though.
okay thanks for the info.
I left the gnats in there alive so that they would stay fresh longer, and the ants could eat at their leisure. Left 20 in there in morning. By 5pm there were only 5 left.
So they are actively hunting them. Must be hungry!
Though maybe they are saving them. I did not make this habitat to view within the colony, so i cannot know for sure.

Glowbug1236
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:08 am

Re: Aphids

Post: # 64400Post Glowbug1236
Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:11 am

***IF THERE IS A THREAD ON APHIDS PLEASE DIRECT ME TO IT. Im hoping that there is more interest in ant and aphid cooperation than im seeing, somewhat surprised at the lack of interest..
I found some interesting info on aphid/ant relationship.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/09/ants-are-destroying-your-plants-by-nurturing-perfect-aphid-colonies/

So the ants in this study were keeping a specific amount of red aphids alive, seemingly to keep the plant from blooming, while keeping another amount of green aphids to feed on, as the green ones produce more honeydew.
Very cool!
I've not found any info on my specific ants with regard to their interest (or lack of) in aphids.
I'll keep searching for Pheidole Dentigula in the wild, so as to observe their behavior..
As of now, the info is minimal for this species.

Another idea is to create a separate outworld as a testing basin. In this area, i will plant (individually at separate times) various host plants, and test which aphids my ants will tend to.
Perhaps non-native species will work, as a last resort, because I would prefer to find a native species of aphid that corresponds with Pheidole Dentigula.

Thanks for reading!

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