Post by TenebrousNova on Feb 27, 2018 12:57:56 GMT
Both of the queen-like ants have unfortunately died, I can only guess that it's down to old age. Wouldn't this mean that they were not true queens, as Temnothorax nylanderi queens can live for well over twenty years?
The queen has already laid a small pile of eggs so hopefully we'll see this colony grow this year. A few larvae have now pupated.
The colony decided to move into the clean chamber, which I'm pleased with. It's given me the chance to get in there with a pair of tweezers and remove much of their rubbish...still, I had to be quick as workers came running out into the dirty chamber to investigate the disturbance.
There's several pupae now, loads of fat larvae and a growing pile of eggs. I did a rough head count and estimate there's between 35 and 40 workers at the moment.
Almost half the larvae have now pupated. The queen is just hitting her stride now, the egg pile is bigger than she is and growing. I really do adore this species, I was very surprised when I learned ages ago that their queens can live for well over 20 years. Perhaps one day if I see another Temnothorax (Or perhaps Leptothorax) species for sale, I'll see how I get on with them.
Post by TenebrousNova on Mar 23, 2018 22:23:49 GMT
I'm not pleased with this photo (I guess the last two were a lucky fluke or something, I'm still struggling with the camera!) but it'll do to show the colony's progress. Most of the larvae have progressed to the pupa stage and as you can see, several of those are already darkening. In the middle is the growing egg pile.
Earlier I got to observe the Temnothorax queen as she laid an egg. I've seen this happen a number of times now and it's intriguing to watch. When she does it she sits on her back four legs with her gaster held underneath her, until the egg emerges about a minute later. She then cleans it and places it carefully on the pile with the rest of the eggs, or lets a worker take it. I saw my first Lasius niger queen laying eggs before, but otherwise this is the only one of my queens I've seen doing so.
Most of the brood at the moment are either eggs or pupae in varying stages of development, many of them are dark and some have even eclosed into new workers. I estimate that the worker population should grow from below 45 to at least 100 once all of the current brood reaches maturity, which will be nice to see!
Post by TenebrousNova on May 16, 2018 23:41:28 GMT
Where last month there was a big pupa pile, there is now an enormous clutch of eggs that must number at least 50 or 60. Some of them are already hatching into tiny larvae. There's also several large larvae that have yet to reach the pupa stage. For such a tiny girl, the Temnothorax queen is certainly prolific! I've counted at least 70 workers.
I wonder if she will produce any alates this year, like she did last time?
Post by TenebrousNova on Jan 27, 2019 17:45:30 GMT
I'm very sad to report that the queen is now entirely on her own. The last of her workers died a few days ago, there was a big die off last Winter as well but this one was particularly hard on them. There's no remaining brood so the queen has no chance of recovering. A massive shame as I adore this species and this colony was one of my favourites. I will undoubtedly try again later in the year.