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Everything posted by Aphaenogaster

  1. A while back, I collected a few small yellow snails from the greenhouse buildings of the Denver Botanical Garden. They have since multiplied into hundreds. Does anyone have any ideas as to the identification? They have an interesting coloration. A newly-hatched snail:
  2. So far, I only have three species. - Trichorhina tomentosa (collected from the Denver Botanical Garden) - "Costa Rican purple" (also from Denver Botanical Garden) - Porcellio scaber "orange" (from Roach Crossing) Photos of my T. tomentosa:
  3. Yeah, I know what you mean. "If ants had nuclear weapons, they would probably end the world in a week." - Journey to the Ants (Bert Holldobler and E. O. Wilson)
  4. Other Pycnoscelus species would be worth considering as well...
  5. This post is structured in a time-line sort of format. I may add more photos/observations to the thread as time progresses... if everyone is interested enough, that is. This Pheidole ceres ant colony was reared from a single queen, collected on the evening of July 14, 2013 from the sidewalk across the street from my house (Fort Collins, Colorado). There were small numbers of P. ceres queens alighting on the same short patch of pavement, following their nuptial flight. Many still had males attached. I collected one of the queens that had shed her wings and placed her in a traditional test tube setup. As is the case with queens of many other ant species, she was able to raise her first workers without any access to food. Here is a photograph of the young colony in their test tube on December 31, 2013. The queen is the largest individual at center. For those who are not familiar with ant metamorphosis, the "white blobs" are larvae and pupae. The workers of this species are dimorphic (i.e. two distinct castes). Most of the colony is made up of minor workers. The majors are the lighter-colored individuals with massive heads - they are specialized for crushing tough food items (e.g. seeds) that the minors bring into the nest. Below are some more recent pictures of part of the colony, which has now surpassed 100 workers. They are currently living in an artificial nest that I built out of hydrostone.
  6. Here are some of my older photos. (September 25, 2011) - A newly founded Tetramorium caespitum colony in their test tube nest. The queen is the large individual at far left. (July 31, 2011) - Camponotus vicinus queen with her first larvae and pupae. These were all raised without any access to food, except for a bit of honey I fed her after she was collected. (March 24, 2012) - The same queen, later on, with her first workers. (September 24, 2011) - Young Myrmica sp. colony in a test tube nest. The queen is the slightly larger individual at center.
  7. Nice! Do you know whether P. femapterus is able to reproduce parthenogenetically?
  8. I would avoid using coconut fiber as a substrate, as many ant species cannot tolerate high moisture levels. Test tube nests are generally the most effective way of housing small ant colonies. To do this, fill a test tube halfway with filtered water and, while holding it vertically, push a piece of cotton downwards to form a blocked reservoir at the end of the tube. It is important to use organic cotton for this. Place the ant queen inside and plug the entrance with dry cotton. Darkening the interior of the test tube (with cloth, paper, etc.) will encourage egg laying. New queens of most ant species do not forage for food during the founding stage. They instead raise their first offspring to adulthood off of their own body reserves. The first workers are called nanitics, due to their stunted size. Of course, care requirements vary greatly depending on species and these rules do not always apply. is a link to a tutorial on how to build a test tube nest.Good luck! Let me know if you have any more questions.
  9. Camponotus are very interesting ants. I haven't had much success with rearing them though. How large did that colony manage to grow before you left?
  10. Thanks for the help! I'll correct everything and add more this weekend.
  11. Thanks! Is there a way to make pictures full-size within a post?
  12. As far as I know, these could be the first photos of ants to be posted on this forum. Of course, this is a cockroach forum, so that makes sense. Anyway, I thought some of you might be interested in seeing the variety of ant species I have cultured over the years. Pheidole ceres (December 31, 2013) - Major worker (at center) and minor workers in their test tube nest. (March 1, 2014) - The colony, shortly after moving into their new hydrostone formicarium. The queen is the large blurry individual at right. Tetramorium caespitum (pavement ants) (March 1, 2014) - Larvae and pupae in the hydrostone nest of another colony. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.) I will continue add more photos in later posts...
  13. I'm wondering whether or not most isopod species require leaf litter for survival. It's difficult to get a hold of pesticide-free leaves where I am. If not, what are some good replacements, in terms of a staple food source? Thanks! - Conor
  14. Specialized to feel emotions and pain? By your own logic here, wouldn't these things hinder our own survival? Pain and emotion are actually very practical tools in an organism's success. With the presence of pain, an animal is able to better escape from danger, as well as learn from past unpleasant experiences. For example, in one study, honeybees were presented with two odors, one of which was associated with an electric shock. After some time, the bees learned to discriminate between the two and preemptively retracted their proboscis when encountering the one tied with electric shock. In the wild, animals that are capable of learning from pain have an advantage over those that make the same mistakes many times. Other "emotions" have similarly useful functions that I could go over if I had the time. A mere reflex does not allow for adaptability. A cockroach would be greatly benefited if it had these capacities.
  15. As I mentioned above, certain crustaceans have been shown conclusively to have pain (as well as the capability to learn from it) and they're about as distantly related from us as cockroaches are. As for the slaughter of cattle, just because it happens on a large scale does not mean it justifies other cruelties. I'm not a vegan/vegetarian, but I prefer to use meat that has been more humanely raised, when possible.
  16. A similar line of reasoning was used in defense of inhumane experiments on dogs some years back.
  17. There have been studies in the last few years that indicate an ability of lobsters and crabs to feel pain. I recall reading that they have even been known to die from trauma alone. Of course, crustaceans are only distantly related to cockroaches, but I think this is enough of a cause for reconsideration. There has also been recent studies to suggest that Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies possess the same specialized nerve receptors correlated to pain in humans. Anyway, until conclusive evidence is available, I believe it is best to treat cockroaches as humanely as is feasibly possible. In the case that these animals do have some sense of pain, this toy will put countless individuals through unnecessary torture for little purpose beyond human entertainment.
  18. There are some Pheidole species (i.e. P. megacephala) that live in "immortal" colonies, but most do not. From what I know of P. ceres, I would say they are among those with a more typical colony structure. Pheidole are extraordinary ants, perhaps my favorite genus! As for how to build a formicarium, the below link has some useful videos on the subject. Hydrostone is the preferred alternative to plaster, since it's much more resistant to fungal growth. If you can't get ahold of hydrostone, adding activated charcoal to the plaster mixture can also be effective. www.youtube.com/lueshi112 Good luck!
  19. I keep captive colonies of only three species at the moment: Aphaenogaster occidentalis, Tetramorium caespitum, and Pheidole ceres. I may post some pictures of them here when I find the time. I'm lucky enough to live in a region with very high ant diversity. In my neighborhood alone, I've come across at least a dozen species. Sadly, with the exception of termites, we don't have any native cockroaches that I know of.
  20. Yes, I am. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), it is difficult to find species that form "immortal" colonies where I live (CO). Anyway, good luck with your project!
  21. Are you sure they're L. humile? From your description, it sounds like you only managed to collect workers and brood. It is rare to find a lot of brood of that species without also uncovering a large number of queens.
  22. Hello, I am interested in the idea of culturing a colony of cockroaches, but have run into one very significant issue. I have read in several places that many species of cockroaches can cause severe allergic reactions in a percentage of people. I am allergic to a remarkable array of different substances, so I have no trouble imagining that I would be one of those few people who are extremely sensitive to cockroaches. Does anyone know of a species that will likely not cause an allergic reaction? Thanks in advance! Conor
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