Discuss keeping ants in here. Including what to feed them, hydration, development, disease and everything in between.
New members should post your questions in here.
User avatar
By zlez93
#18416
Hey guys beginner ant keeper here!

So species: Messor Aciculatus from antkit they don't require hibernation apparently. I keep them at room temperature.
I've had them almost about 6 weeks now, came with 4 workers and a bunch of eggs/brood (what ever they're called) and I now have 5 workers and not much brood/eggs (queen might have eaten them).

I generally provide them with a mix of seeds but I've only ever seen them interested in niger seeds ( I think they're niger seeds, but they're black regardless) and this blackish stuff has been on the cotton for a while. It doesn't seem to be spreading towards the water and seems contained on the surface (it's been there for over 2 weeks now) so is this mould or just ant bread? I'm really worried since my Queen doesn't seem to be laying any eggs. I observed her poop some whitish stuff is this the sperm?

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User avatar
By jonthefish
#18417
Are you providing insect protein a couple of times a week?

The Black is nothing to worry about, its just general ware n tear and ant poo. Provide a second clean test beside the first one so you have given them choice if they would like to move.
User avatar
By zlez93
#18426
Thank you both very much for your replies.

jonthefish wrote:Are you providing insect protein a couple of times a week?

The Black is nothing to worry about, its just general ware n tear and ant poo. Provide a second clean test beside the first one so you have given them choice if they would like to move.


That's a relief! Are they not meant to poop outside the tube though?

I'm really not sure how often I should be providing them with protein....
I have 2nd instar crickets which I keep frozen and never bothered gutloading. I have mealworms as well from a local pet shop which I've gutloaded and probably going to freeze very soon too. From my observations the past few weeks they don't seem to eat the whole cricket/mealworm but just eat what they can and then the rest just dries up so it becomes inedible correct?
How often should I be feeding them if this is the case, and what portions do I just put in there? Like half of a meal worm or the whole thing? I'm really inexperienced over this and I haven't been feeding them much (perhaps an insect once every 1-2 weeks) as I'm worred about over feeding them as I read there's such a thing called protein toxicity with ants.


OTHER wrote:How often do you observe them? Six Weeks and just one worker being born doesn't sound good to me.


To be honest, I observed them quite a lot. I'd leave them exposed to light as well for a few hours too.

Now the past week I've stopped and been letting them do their own thing.

But I keep them in the starter kit 0 tub so whenever I had to feed them I had to take the lid off (which is quite flimsy, it's basically a tuperware container) so they get disturbed a lot when I have to take it off. I've thought of an easy solution to this, simply just flipping the lid over so it just sits :P .

The next time I open it probably on Friday I will be putting in a new test tube and have some red sticky window tint to put on it but I'm quite reluctant to do this as I'd like to be able to see their eggs/brood.
User avatar
By OTHER
#18430
Might be the answer to the slow growth.
Messor is known to be an ant that stresses quickly, they say because of the seed warehouses they have.
When they feel vibrations there is a chance the seed warehouses will collapse, that's why they stress out quickly.
Best to leave them be for now, try to not look for a while!

Also, I suggest to feed them smaller insects, like fruit flies for example. Small and easy to drag into the nest to consume.

Hope this helps! And may the patience be with you :-D
User avatar
By Serafine
#18431
You will still need something to darken their nest (a piece of paper or plastic) because contrary to popular believe ants CAN see red.
My Camponutus have a red plastic foil around their tube and it has ZERO effect - they instantly know when they're in the light and they do not like it (that's why I've built them a small "paper tent" to cover the tube).

Since Messor are even more sensitive to light a red window most likely won't do.
User avatar
By OTHER
#18432
My Messor barbarus does not see red light, i always observe them with red light. And they do not notice me.
I think the difference in genus does matter here, in my experience Camponotus or Formica does see red light.
User avatar
By DaveUnder
#18433
Lasius niger, Formica fusca, Myrmica gallienii - all my colonys see red. Have tested couple different materials-tones.
They might feel more comfortable under red cover as it still darkens the area, but they do sense when you turn on light in room.
But again, red and red can be different. As well what spectrum of light specific "red"cover blocks is different etc.
User avatar
By milant
#18434
Serafine wrote:You will still need something to darken their nest (a piece of paper or plastic) because contrary to popular believe ants CAN see red.
My Camponutus have a red plastic foil around their tube and it has ZERO effect - they instantly know when they're in the light and they do not like it (that's why I've built them a small "paper tent" to cover the tube).

Since Messor are even more sensitive to light a red window most likely won't do.

ants cannot see red. instead they see a super dark grey thats almost black. they can see the colour difference when something moves past as it creates an even darker patch and scares them
OTHER liked this
User avatar
By milant
#18436
i'll summarise the whole topic:

when people say ants cant see red theyre generally talking about the ant species commonly kept by ant keepers. all the small species of ants cannot see red as theyre so small their eyes cannot grow to the size needed to be able to function in the way detecting red is needed. larger species like componotous herculeanus have much better vision because theyre bigger in general and their eyes are much bigger. take a look at Gigantiops Destructor and youll see their eyes are much much more developed and thus have much better vision. Ants evolved differently depending on how they hunt, act socially etc. Gigantiops Destructor needs huge eyes with good vision to allow it to jump places and actually go where it wants to. smaller ants who generally forage together and rely more on pheromones to find their way around dont require such a highly developed eye so never evolved to have such an eye.
User avatar
By Serafine
#18438
milant wrote:ants cannot see red. instead they see a super dark grey thats almost black. they can see the colour difference when something moves past as it creates an even darker patch and scares them

Actually there's studies proving that ants can see red (and that includes ants as small as Lasius). When in the open ants behave different in red light than they do in complete darkness - they have a strong tendency to group up instead of foraging on their own. Within the nest they usually do not change their behavior though (but that doesn't mean they can't get stressed).

It remains unknown yet wether ants can specifically see red or if they just recognize the light in general. Also they seem to react much stronger to bright red than they do to dark red.
User avatar
By Crimz23432
#18440
Bare in mind cotton is an organic material and mould has the potential to form on all organic material especially were this is moisture I sterilise all my test tubes and only water my ants with sterile water and no mould appears on the cotton wool. I recommend changing the cotton wool using tweezers if possible or transfer her to another test tube set up, to keep conditions sterile only water the queen with water that has been previously boiled using a kettle can do this easily just make sure it is cool and not hot
User avatar
By milant
#18441
Serafine wrote:
milant wrote:ants cannot see red. instead they see a super dark grey thats almost black. they can see the colour difference when something moves past as it creates an even darker patch and scares them

Actually there's studies proving that ants can see red (and that includes ants as small as Lasius). When in the open ants behave different in red light than they do in complete darkness - they have a strong tendency to group up instead of foraging on their own. Within the nest they usually do not change their behavior though (but that doesn't mean they can't get stressed).

It remains unknown yet wether ants can specifically see red or if they just recognize the light in general. Also they seem to react much stronger to bright red than they do to dark red.

thats just another way of phrasing what im saying. they cannot "see" red. that colour just doesnt exist. they see shadows and shades but not the actual colour itself
User avatar
By Serafine
#18445
Nobody knows for sure what ants can see and what not until they examined their receptors in detail, but the evidence is pointing strongly towards the fact that many of them do indeed have an enzyme that reacts to red light.

http://blog.wildaboutants.com/2010/04/0 ... or-vision/
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/20 ... .Gb.r.html
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/oc ... .Zo.r.html
User avatar
By andavane
#18446
milant wrote:i'll summarise the whole topic:

when people say ants cant see red theyre generally talking about the ant species commonly kept by ant keepers. all the small species of ants cannot see red as theyre so small their eyes cannot grow to the size needed to be able to function in the way detecting red is needed. larger species like componotous herculeanus have much better vision because theyre bigger in general and their eyes are much bigger. take a look at Gigantiops Destructor and youll see their eyes are much much more developed and thus have much better vision. Ants evolved differently depending on how they hunt, act socially etc. Gigantiops Destructor needs huge eyes with good vision to allow it to jump places and actually go where it wants to. smaller ants who generally forage together and rely more on pheromones to find their way around dont require such a highly developed eye so never evolved to have such an eye.

Very useful summary. The word "see" contains too many factors compressed into one. Cf some folks are 'colour blind' but can still see colour alright. 'Colour blind' is a misnomer.
User avatar
By zlez93
#18459
OTHER wrote:My Messor barbarus does not see red light, i always observe them with red light. And they do not notice me.
I think the difference in genus does matter here, in my experience Camponotus or Formica does see red light.
OTHER wrote:My Messor barbarus does not see red light, i always observe them with red light. And they do not notice me.
I think the difference in genus does matter here, in my experience Camponotus or Formica does see red light.
@OTHER, @OTHER, @OTHER, @OTHER,

Can you actually see the brood and what the queen is up to in red ?
User avatar
By OTHER
#18460
My sand nest has build in led lights (Red), so yeah I can view them without disturbing them.
I did turn on the extra light for the video, normally I leave that off.
So i just have red lights!

Take a look at my video so you can get the idea ;-)

User avatar
By rehyn
#18461
OTHER wrote:My sand nest has build in led lights (Red), so yeah I can view them without disturbing them.
I did turn on the extra light for the video, normally I leave that off.
So i just have red lights!

Take a look at my video so you can get the idea ;-)



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