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Pheidole ceres Colony Photos


Aphaenogaster
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Makes me think of Buggers in Ender's game book and other books of the same story. I think the pupae of Apis mellifera are the cutest animals.

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)

:)

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