Shikashi

Earth based Space Colonization Simulation

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Greetings, folks of Earth. I am speaking here from the HQ of international Aethernautiks.

Ok, I am joking, I am sitting next to my bed.
Anyways, I always thought : "Damn, Ants are pretty damn interesting".
Now, today, I managed to catch a mated Ant Queen, and put it into a small test tube set up so it can grow it's colony.

Maybe, by studying their behaviour, I can learn simple but effective strategies for conquering new planets and terraforming(Ants are vivid terraformers, they do a lot around their homes)

I will update on any major events!

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Good luck with your ant colony!

I had three queens a few years back, but once the colonies reached the size where I had to think and plan their food source, I had no choice but to set them free in the garden.

I concluded that when my family members asked me "Are you seriously going to raise worms in the house????" they actually meant "You're not going to keep those things in the house!"

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Maybe you raised wrong ants? :) My Messor structor colony is over 10 years old and still going strong. And i never had problems with feeding them - as mostly herbivorous species my ants eat various grains, sunflower seeds, nuts and occasionally couple of houseflies or a small piece of raw meat (pork - they don't like any poultry). If you have carnivorous ants as pets, nearest angler shop will readily provide fly larvae or those small red worms that i have no idea how they're called in english :D

 

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10 years, very nice! Post a picture of the habitat?

Mine were most likely L. Niger, although I've never had them checked by a professional.

Not very exotic, I know, but that's what lives around here and I wouldn't consider importing a non native species, or even bringing one from the seaside to mainland.

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I'm still stuck in the Age of Nokia :D But as soon as i have something less potato-like to take photos with, i'll try to show off my little friends.

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On ‎17‎.‎07‎.‎2017 at 10:24 PM, Scotius said:

Maybe you raised wrong ants? :) My Messor structor colony is over 10 years old and still going strong. And i never had problems with feeding them - as mostly herbivorous species my ants eat various grains, sunflower seeds, nuts and occasionally couple of houseflies or a small piece of raw meat (pork - they don't like any poultry). If you have carnivorous ants as pets, nearest angler shop will readily provide fly larvae or those small red worms that i have no idea how they're called in english :D

 

Mine are some species that I don't know. But they are damn common over here in Austria, especially in the forests where their buildings sometimes grow up to two meters in height and a few meters width at the base. I think they are omnivorous, but I can try.

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Sounds like you have a Formica species.

1200px-Formica_rufa_a1.jpg

Looks similiar? They are not good for home keeping, because of their high mobility, agressiveness, keen senses and trigger - happy attitude. At the slightest provocation Formicas spray formic acid everywhere - which may lead to entire colony gassing itself to death. Better return them to the forest - you will have a lot of trouble keeping them at home. And there are many simpler and easier ants to keep as pets in Central and West Europe.

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No, it does look similar, but they haven't got the yellowish section.
They are completely dark brown, and so far have proven docile(though I yet have to see any offspring, not just the queens(yes, another one landed in my room yesterday))
They don't just live in the forest, here in Austria, they live everywhere.

If my camera weren't so damn bad, I'd take a picture.

 

Edited by Shikashi

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formica-fusca_1.jpg?itok=6usUtjrA

This one? It's Formica fusca. A relative of F. rufa. Indeed, this one is much better suited for keeping in artificial nest. Do you have wingless queen in your colony? If not, you will not get any brood.

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Yes, the picture you attached very closely resembles my ant. Yes, she already had torn of her wings when I found her, and has proven docile so far. Can you tell me: fully claustral or not?

Thanks in advance!

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Fully. She will dig small nest in the soil, seal herself inside - and raise her first brood without going outside once. But you can speed things up a bit by carefully gathering some pupae from a wild nest, and giving them to your queen. With a bit of luck she will adopt them, which will give your colony a nice kickstart :)

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Great! Is it bad that I gave her a toothpick of honey? I mean, honey still is disinfecting, so it should keep mold at bay, right?

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She should do fine on her own, but a bit of extra carbohydrates will not hurt her :) Unfortunately, it will not help much either. To raise new ants, she will need proteins - honey doesn't contain a lot of them. She'll have to take the rest from reserves in her own body - dissolve flight muscles etc. You could help her by making a special mix rich in proteins. It's quite simple: just mix a bit of a raw egg yolk with honey (eventually add a bit of sugar to literally sweeten the deal :) ) in a nearly 1:1 proportion. But if you do - please remember to feed her only small portions. This mix catches mold or spoils quite fast. And i must warn you - even with best care not every queen is able to successfully establish her own nest. Sometimes it all looks fine, but after couple of months things for some reason fall apart. Queen might die, or her first workers might die - frankly, it's roulette. I lost two young colonies of Camponotus ants, and to this day i don't know what went wrong.

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I would like to have an ant farm sometime...how do you tell if they are a queen?

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1 hour ago, StupidAndy said:

I would like to have an ant farm sometime...how do you tell if they are a queen?

You know what I mean. /badreference

In all seriousness, I don't know. But google is your friend here, as I'm sure it depends on the species.

Edited by Bill Phil

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it's kinda like the movies "alien"(s), the queen use to be slighty bigger with some specific morphology traits depending the kinds of ants as far as i remind (a few others thing as well, but it fall under feeding & pheromonal stuff and etc. , see also termit and bee &and& ...)

here some links if your curious:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant#Morphology

1920px-Atta.cephalotes.gamut.selection.j

Edited by WinkAllKerb''

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Spoiler

Usually queens have crowns and mantles.
Or the biggest sword in the tribe if they are barbarian queens.

 

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okay, TO GOOGLE AND WIKIPEDIA!!!

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If you decide to buy a nest in store, for the love of Jeb - under no circumstances take one of the so - called 'gel nests'.

51PFEDHYYQL.jpg

This is not a nest - it's a torture chamber. Workers can live for some time inside, eating the jelly (which contain enough sugar to keep them alive). But there are no proteins, vitamins and other nutrients ants need to raise their brood. Also, brood needs something called moisture gradient. Eggs, larvae and pupae need different levels of moisture - which is impossible to have if nest is housed inside a slab of gel. Everything will be eaten by molds and harmful bacteria in short time.

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Update: One of the two queen ants died, I gave the other one some coco noir yesterday, so she actually has something to dig. I think she likes it, cuz I see some small tunnels and I can't find her anywhere. I choose coco noir because it doesn't really mold and it isn't really hard.

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It was to be expected. In the wild, only about 10% of queens is able to establish a successful nest. Which may be for the best - otherwise we would drown in ants :D Anyways, if your queen dug first chamber and sealed herself inside leave her in peace. Keep her in a dark, quiet place and do not disturb the nest aside of making sure the substrate is not dried up. Depending of the species, it might take couple of months before young workers leave their cocoons. First generation might spawn before winter, ot they might hibernate until spring.

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We had pretty harsh winters 10 years ago, now global warming kinda changed that. However, I think they're hibernating through winter then. But she must REALLY like the coco noir, seeing as she dug into it within a night.

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Whatever happened to talking about using apis mellifera to see how they react to environments?

 

Edited by Casualnaut

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Huh? Did i once bring something like that up?

UPDATE: Survivor queen has entered physogastrism. her butt is now a few times larger than the rest of her body.
Man those queens real thicc.

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Yeah. This thread was always about ants :) As for ants - environment interactions: Do you know that Formica rufa anthills have air-conditioning? That Atta species grow their food in underground farms? That ants use Sun and stars for navigation? That Solenopsis ants can build rafts out of their own bodies, and colonise new areas by sailing on water during floods? Ants are amazing :D

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