Wild Ant Colony, and a few Weekend Bugs

Mr. Mordax

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
Messages
2,301
Went to a family reunion this weekend, and managed to convert a few little ones into buggy folk :)wicked:). Among other things, we found several large ant colonies. I got some decent pictures (and a couple videos) of one.

Ant pictures clickable for zoom:






Video 1

Video 2

It was a lot of fun watching the soldiers running around thrusting their abdomens and baring their jaws. :D

I found a couple of weird grubs under a log along with a termite that wandered away from the rest of the colony.


AND I managed to catch a dragonfly! He wasn't happy -- kept angrily showing me his mouthparts. It must have been doing whatever bugs do that's equivalent to sleep, 'cause my hands were about three inches away from it without it noticing me. Sorry 'bout the bad picture quality . . . the camera didn't know the dragonfly was cooler than my hand.


I also got some good pictures of a cute little rough-skinned newt (pics coming when I get that thread posted).

Edit: Here's the newt.
 
Last edited:

Galapoheros

ArachnoGod
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 4, 2005
Messages
8,991
Rock down! Looks like the grubs are of a Longhorn beetle of some kind maybe. I have some bug branches in my fam tree, but more bugaphobes than probuggers.
 

padkison

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2005
Messages
901
Looking for bugs is always a good way to pass the time. Need to get those kids early before they become conditioned to fear bugs.

Nice pics
 

Dark

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Messages
538
Wow, very nice pictures, I seen that ant species on a documentary called
Life in The Undergrowth

did the ants shoot acid out of their abdomens when provoked?
 

Mr. Mordax

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
Messages
2,301
Thanks for the compliments! It's always fun to turn kinds into bugaphiles. :D

Darkpredator: not that I noticed. The soldiers just ran around thrusting their abdomens in a stinging threat and biting the air in our general direction.
 

Reacker

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jun 18, 2007
Messages
13
Yes, I know this thread is old, but I'm an ant fanatic.


Those ants you found were from the genus Formica, they would indeed have shot Formic acid out of their abdomen if you had gotten close enough to notice.

That termite you found was a member of the reproductive caste, dry wood termites I believe. I found about a hundred or so in Southern Oregon and am using them to start colonies. Five out of the 9 groups I started using the termites just had their first nymphs eclose today.

Excellent pictures by the way.
 

Reacker

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jun 18, 2007
Messages
13
Really?

I have been doing research trying to get an exact ID on my termites, I am sort of thinking that mine are a species of Kalotermes, but not too sure.

Do you know what species those are in that pic?
 

Mr. Mordax

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
Messages
2,301
The acid-shooting ants sound really cool -- makes me wish I'd looked closer! (Knowing my luck they would have "gotten me" if I did :eek:.)

I'm leaning towards agreeing with dampwood termites -- not much dry wood in that part of the Cascades, and I heard dampwood termites are pretty common in this area. Drywood termites in southern Oregon sounds about right though.

I also feel really dumb for not realizing it was a reproductive when I found it, considering it has eyes! (And it's not the same coloring as a worker -- a little kid at a weekend bug event pointed out the king termite to us after noticing it looked "different" from the others.) I completely forgot that reproductives lose their wings after mating.
 

myrmecophile

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
611
Reacker Size alone points to dampwood, that is a fairly large termite pictured, and they are big. No clue which species it might actually be though.
 

Reacker

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jun 18, 2007
Messages
13
Do you know what family dampwood termites are classified in?

And I have been researching on the assumption that my termites are dampwood, the description definitely seems to fit. It's a bit difficult finding in depth info on the guys given that most everything on termites is focused on eradication.
 

anter

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
17
I caught small reproductive termites from nuptial flights before, and I kept them in a homemade antfarm with dirt. they holed up, layed some eggs, but they died.
Its so hard to keep termites, and no one ever gives tips on keeping termites, only ants. How do you manage to keep termites?
 

Mr. Mordax

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
Messages
2,301
I kept them in a homemade antfarm with dirt
Well there's your problem. Termites eat decaying wood. If it's dampwood termites you have, then put pieces of dead wood in a humid environment and they should be fine.
 

nepenthes

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
561
Those ants are a Formica species...

Almost all of them look very closely a like, doubt its a single species you saw in the Undergrowth, which I beleive is produced some where in Brittan, these are far west (in the US at least) Ant species, I'm not familiar with them.

At any rate it looks like a fat happy colony.
 
Last edited:

anter

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
17
Well there's your problem. Termites eat decaying wood. If it's dampwood termites you have, then put pieces of dead wood in a humid environment and they should be fine.
But you see bud, The frames of the ant farm WAS made of wood. They thrived for weeks and laid eggs aand they just died and vanished. I never even saw the eggs hatch into nymphs!

Also, many termites (subterrean (dirt dwelling)) come out and perform mating flights where I live. How do you make it so that you can keep a termite colony going?

Thx
 

Mr. Mordax

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
Messages
2,301
The frame being wood isn't enough -- they usually live in the stuff in nature. Maybe there was glue or something that prevented them from continuing, or it got too dry. I've heard it also helps to keep the colony dark, just taking it into the light for display.

Try taking out the dirt, putting in some pieces of damp wood, and put in a pair after a mating flight (they'll have just lost their wings). That's all I can suggest.
 
Top