strumigenys eggersi

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einman
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strumigenys eggersi

#1 Post by einman » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:33 am

So - I have been away from the forum for a while. During the summer I turn my attention towards entomology and outdoor activities such as inline skating and cycling. Inline skating takes up a good deal of my time as I try and get back into shape from hibernating over the winter months. In any event here are 2 pics of one of my ant colonies- Strumigenys eggersi. For perspective the glass cover over the colony is the size of a microscope slide. The whole colony is housed in a very small space. The surrounding gray area is hydrastone and serves to maintain moisture levels and provide foraging space. I will provide some videos as well as photos soon using my SMZ-U. I generally maintain several colonies of various ant species although currently I only have 2. I was hesitant to start again. All my colonies died in a house fire and when I started over my colonies died from exposure to cat hair that had been treated for fleas. A single hair landing in the container can wipe out an entire colony. When you keep cats that can be difficult to eliminate!


Image In this particular set-up I am using an AO 580 mounted on an older B&L SK boom stand. NO camera.

Image

This colony is about 3 years old. There are about a dozen foraging in the gray areas outside the colony enclosure. As you can see a stereoscope lends itself well to studying dacetines.

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ImperatorRex
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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#2 Post by ImperatorRex » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:09 pm

I am very interested to see more pics & reports. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#3 Post by Hobbyst46 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:22 pm

There are quite recent academic studies where they kept ant colonies within a transparent illuminated table/fixture of some sort, monitored the ant movement and trips to food 24/7 around the clock with a camera, made time lapses or movies, then analyzed the tracks and motion with software image analysis algorithms to learn about their habits, communication, information sharing etc... the uniform size and form of ants in the colony (at least, most of them) and their dark color facilitate such studies...
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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#4 Post by billbillt » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:42 pm

Yes!.. Pleas provide more!... Very interesting......

BillT

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#5 Post by coominya » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:03 pm

I too would be interested to see more closeups of the habitat they build.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#6 Post by einman » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:29 am

I hope to make some videos next week as well as some close-ups! The colony has grown and ebbed over the years. I lost a significant number of foragers to condensation when temperatures changed in my lab. These guys are so small a drop of water can spell doom.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#7 Post by KurtM » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:29 am

I agree, this is most interesting!
Cheers,
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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#8 Post by einman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:02 am


The images are not 100% clear as the video is being taken thru 2 panes of glass that are often covered in moisture and/or ant deposits etc. However, you can see the collembola that have been stung and are awaiting their turn to be eaten by the larvae. Some larvae can be seen eating the collembola.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#9 Post by einman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:59 am


video 2 is a continuation of the first one.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#10 Post by einman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:30 am

The actual "habitat" is constructed of hydrastone and a Dremel tool. It is then covered in a glass plate. This is then positioned within a larger container also consisting of hydrastone. The larger container then acts as the foraging area.

The hydrastone absorbs water, allowing you to control the humidity within the container, as many dacetines live in a humid environment.

I previously had what was perhaps one of the largest colonies in captivity of Strumenys pergandei prior to my house fire.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#11 Post by zzffnn » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:53 am

Very cool videos, thank you for sharing! They make me want to keep a small colony as well. I have dogs (hairs) treated with flea medications though.

What objective magnification range (of AO 580 zoom?) was used for the videos?

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#12 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:44 am

According to Wikipedia, these specific ants can survive dryness. How dry can it be ?
On the other hand, if I understand correctly, the practical difficulty is maintaining an appropriate humidity for ants, without condensation that interferes with photography and is even dangerous for the ants.
To keep a high but non-condensing humidity level, the temperature must be controlled as well. Temperature affects condensation in a non-linear way. An interesting challenge for home lab... :?
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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#13 Post by apochronaut » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:00 pm

Very neat stuff Everett. Great videos too. Do they go into torpor?

unfortunately, I too have ant colonies. one is in the beam over my workbench in the driveshed and the other in the beam in the pantry/woodhouse area of the farm house. would you like some?

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#14 Post by wporter » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:29 pm

unfortunately, I too have ant colonies. one is in the beam over my workbench in the driveshed and the other in the beam in the pantry/woodhouse area of the farm house. would you like some?
If they are in the beams, they may have displaced and destroyed termite colonies; if so, this would come under the heading of "Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth"!

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#15 Post by einman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:40 pm

zzffnn wrote:Very cool videos, thank you for sharing! They make me want to keep a small colony as well. I have dogs (hairs) treated with flea medications though.

What objective magnification range (of AO 580 zoom?) was used for the videos?
I used my Nikon SMZ-U and magnification varied up to 35X or so. I do not have a camera adapted to my AO 580. I tend to use it more as a quick and dirty spotting scope when feeding etc.
Last edited by einman on Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#16 Post by einman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:41 pm

Hobbyst46 wrote:According to Wikipedia, these specific ants can survive dryness. How dry can it be ?
On the other hand, if I understand correctly, the practical difficulty is maintaining an appropriate humidity for ants, without condensation that interferes with photography and is even dangerous for the ants.
To keep a high but non-condensing humidity level, the temperature must be controlled as well. Temperature affects condensation in a non-linear way. An interesting challenge for home lab... :?
I have lost a lot of this species to condensation until I found the right location. Yes this species is more dry tolerant but still prefer a humid environment.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#17 Post by einman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:42 pm

wporter wrote:
unfortunately, I too have ant colonies. one is in the beam over my workbench in the driveshed and the other in the beam in the pantry/woodhouse area of the farm house. would you like some?
If they are in the beams, they may have displaced and destroyed termite colonies; if so, this would come under the heading of "Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth"!
Agree!!!

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#18 Post by einman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:43 pm

apochronaut wrote:Very neat stuff Everett. Great videos too. Do they go into torpor?

unfortunately, I too have ant colonies. one is in the beam over my workbench in the driveshed and the other in the beam in the pantry/woodhouse area of the farm house. would you like some?
They can "slow-down" as it were meaning the queen becomes less prolific in the winter. That too depends on how they are housed.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#19 Post by Radazz » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:18 pm

Fascinating video!
My first impression was that they have wicked looking mandibles, but they seem to be perfect forceps for carrying the larvae.
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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#20 Post by einman » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:08 pm

Radazz wrote:Fascinating video!
My first impression was that they have wicked looking mandibles, but they seem to be perfect forceps for carrying the larvae.
Radazz
They are often referred to as trap jaw ants. They open their jaws to about 180 degrees just before ensnaring prey. The action is considered one of the fastest in the natural world.

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#21 Post by gaurav » Sat Apr 11, 2020 4:23 pm

einman wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:08 pm
Radazz wrote:Fascinating video!
My first impression was that they have wicked looking mandibles, but they seem to be perfect forceps for carrying the larvae.
Radazz
They are often referred to as trap jaw ants. They open their jaws to about 180 degrees just before ensnaring prey. The action is considered one of the fastest in the natural world.
Hello einman - this is very cool! I hope you see my message. I'm a PhD student in Okinawa studying genetics underlying the evolution of trap-jaw mandibles in Strumigenys. I recently found a few colonies of Strumigenys, a couple of Strumigenys leptothrix and another of Strumigenys minutula. I'm trying to figure out what the best way is to keep them and looks like you have already found one. If you don't mind sharing some details on how you kept your colony, can you please let me know your email address so that I can ask you some details? Alternatively, please email me at gaurav.agavekar2@oist.jp I would really appreciate your help regarding this. Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Gaurav

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Re: strumigenys eggersi

#22 Post by einman » Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:25 am

Sure Guarav.

I just sent you an e-mail.

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