#11415
Here we have a new start for keeping the famous Oecophylla smaragdina . A brand new approach to keeping them in a well controlled environment. I like the format of the German ant keeping journals, therefore will start with a brief introduction.

Oecophylla smaragdina, (Fabricius, 1775)

Taxonomy:
- Family: Formicidae
- Subfamily: Formicinae
- Genus: Oecophylla
- Species: smaragdina
- Binomial Nomenclature: Oecophylla smaragdina

Origin: Australia
Features: Minor - Major castes
Hibernation: No
Appearance of the queen: Green-Brown, Very bulky
Appearance of the workers: color: Green- Brown, slim with long legs

Nest building: Weaving nests in trees and between cracks of high humidity utilising silk secreted by larvae.
Food: honey, insects
Temperature: 22 - 28 ° C
Humidity: 60 - 80% (tropical climate)

After contemplation of calling it a day with this species, I thought "How else will the world get to learn about their care, other than through physically keeping them and experiencing their behaviour". Where others have dropped the bat, I want to go forward and push the ant-keeping boundaries. It has driven me to gather numerous sources of information and pick out fine details that may have slipped through others' reading. So far the main factors I have established are: High Humidity, these ants won't survive long in the wild when there is wind or dry seasons, 25-30C Temperature, the successful keeper kept the colony at this temperature range and the colony lived for 6 years in captivity! and finally, Food, food, food!, protein everywhere, giving them plenty of live insects to eat is essential for brood development, especially because the larvae can become exhausted of their silk supply, therefore needing proteins to synthesise more silk.

Enough information about the ants, now for the formicarium:

A simple design for accommodate the colony for some time. Very similar, nearly identical to Liber ants' OS formicarium. The island will be surrounded by distilled water (to prevent mineral build-up on the glass). At the moment I am trialling the conditions.

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Got two or three more boiling tubes to put in, I will provide fresh ivy leaves in the boiling tubes and if the colony I'm receiving proves to be larger, I will use the Calamondin small tree in place of the boiling tubes to allow the ants to weave their nest. The colony consists of a single Queen, lots of brood and 100 workers, which will be arriving early next week from Germany. I hope this will be a successful colony foundation this time round.
#11417
Alex white wrote:May I ask where you get your colonies? :-)


This particular colony will be arriving from a private German seller. Originally I was going to purchase the colony in its fullest form with 3 Queens but the seller decided to split the colony to trade on the two other Queens for a Paraponera colony. So I'm getting the 1 Queen with brood and 100 workers.
#11436
@Leafcutter very nice and good luck :-)
#11437
@Alex white there are lots of sellers but most are not for sale until late summer heres a link if you need more links ill post them for you http://www.antsfromasia.com/shop/4589082101
#11456
@Alex white yeah i think your right brown not green.https://www.ants-kalytta.com/home.php sell them but pick up only if i remember :-)
#11457
@Alex white https://www.ants-kalytta.com/Ants-Australia.html none in stock but do ship smaller colonies
#11462
number6 wrote:@Alex white https://www.ants-kalytta.com/Ants-Australia.html none in stock but do ship smaller colonies


You'll be lucky to find any Australian ants for sale anywhere as getting permits for export are difficult to obtain and expensive.

The Asian variety are much easier to obtain and AntsFromAsia do stock them most years. I believe TheAntKeepingShop are going to stock them in the near future.
#11465
@Leafcutter @Alex white there a pain to get and sort but once thats all arranged these are a brilliant species to keep. my uncle used to keep these but i remember it having 2 queens a green queen and a brown queen and they was in a four foot fish tank that looked like a forest moss floors that was damp but very warm i think they use it now for pet frogs ect now and plants that looked like rubber it was a lovely setup when he died he left it to hornimans museum in forest hill south london but not been there in years so not sure if its still there :-)
formica123, Alex white liked this
#11467
number6 wrote:@Leafcutter @Alex white there a pain to get and sort but once thats all arranged these are a brilliant species to keep. my uncle used to keep these but i remember it having 2 queens a green queen and a brown queen and they was in a four foot fish tank that looked like a forest moss floors that was damp but very warm i think they use it now for pet frogs ect now and plants that looked like rubber it was a lovely setup when he died he left it to hornimans museum in forest hill south london but not been there in years so not sure if its still there :-)


There's speculation about whether the Queens change colour as they mature, for example I have seen new Queens a very light green colour but in the same instance, older Queens which are much darker.
#11468
@Alex white look at @Leafcutter setup these are not cheap the setup costs and its a constant buy and supply my uncle used to feed them grasshoppers as they never eat the leafs where locusts did and the leafs are to important he used to say :-)
#11469
@Leafcutter i think that maybe true my uncle said they was both lime green when he got them and they seemed to change colour depending where they was in the nest but im sure you can be the best judge as you will be the proud owner very soon :-)
#11470
number6 wrote:@Alex white look at @Leafcutter setup these are not cheap the setup costs and its a constant buy and supply my uncle used to feed them grasshoppers as they never eat the leafs where locusts did and the leafs are to important he used to say :-)


Yes the health of the plant really has an affect on the health of the colony apparently. My current setup cost in the region of £150 excluding electrical equipment such as thermostat, lamps, lamp holders. Well in the region of £250, and that's not including the cost of the colony itself!
#11471
@Leafcutter thats a big outlay but one thats worth every penny once this colony gets going i can't wait for your journal :-D
#11472
number6 wrote:@Leafcutter thats a big outlay but one thats worth every penny once this colony gets going i can't wait for your journal :-D


I've tried this species a few times before, but was unsuccessful :-(. Hopefully with this larger colony it'll be easier to get established.
#11473
@Leafcutter i really hope this time around it works out perfect for you. like you say not many successful colonies in captivity my uncle was english and my auntie was Australian and lived here uk and there Australia and said these ants are classed as pest in Australia and also that people eat them. 30 years later and there still classed as a pest and are also mass produce as a snack and or dipped in chocolate. and there eggs / larve are used to feed koi carp as its though they have a colour changing ability and brings out brighter colours in koi carp :-)
#11485
nice :-D lol the bottom left leaf looks like an ants on it already 8-)
#11486
number6 wrote:nice :-D lol the bottom left leaf looks like an ants on it already 8-)


Yes there are 2 Camponotus fulvopilosus test subjects, kindly volunteered themselves when they attacked my hand :D. Just to confirm that the setup is escape-proof, although if the colony is really big then I'll have to resort to plan B which is the large tank which can hold 6 plants and is about 1m high. I doubt that will be the case though. 1 step at a time. I added some de-ionised water to the tank to act as a moat and to increase humidity with 2 heat mats underneath. I will see in the morning how the C. fulvopilosus workers are faring.
#11487
@Leafcutter exciting times :-D
#11489
@Leafcutter now thats impressive i must say :-)
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