Dendroboard banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been experimenting with ants for the past few months. Started with what i thought were Argentine ants (Iridomyrmex humilis) but not 100% sure on the ID. IT took about 2 months of culturing but i finally got to the point were i had reproduction (nothing to the point where i could have been feeding out) but after a brief period of neglect they all jumped ship on me. I regularly add rotten bananas to all the FF eating frog tanks to hold the FF and I have found that my escaped origianl colony is not gone....just elsewhere, and very fond of rotting fruit and the fruit flies that collect there. All of the frogs enjoy the ants but they are a little too much for some of the thumbnails. (the ants are about 1/8" in length) At any given instance you can look at the grey frog-room floor and see these tiny black ants foraging the floor for stray FF. So I did some more research and found another species which is much more suitable for culture and the frogs LOVE them. They are commonly called Ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum) and are very tiny (less than 1/16"). These ants have been doing much better under culture situation and seem to reproduce and "bud" much quicker than my last species attempted. These ants occur in southern Florida (actually native to tropical africa but are now considered pan-tropical, being found in as remote tropical locations as the Galapagos) and need warm temps and very high humidity which is not the best situation for escaped colonies "taking over" your houshold (especially if you live in temperate areas that have low relative humidity), although i think the risk is still there. A risk i am more than happy to take :lol: I find them extremely easy to feed and I have been gutloading them on egg, honey, spirulina, dendrocare, and some FF for aditional protien. The frogs feeding response to the movement of these ants is really impressive and tinc tribe frogs will not even look twice at FF's if the ants are in there running around. I am still debating if it is best to work with these ants in a "culture" set-up in which i have to remove culture vessles to feed, or a "refugia" set-up in which the ant colony is given access to foraging opportunities within the frogs enclosures. Very fun and very exciting stuff(for a big nerd). Have plans for large scale termite culture for the functionality of feeding the frogs as well as recycling cardboard....that is for next month....Ben
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the ants are in a ten gallon that has vaseline smeared around the top to prevent escape (or at least that is what i tell myself). On the pottom of the tank on one side i placed test tubes covered in tin foil that have water in the bottom which is held there witha cotton ball. I have been using all different media inside the test tubes to see what the ants like best and have had my best luck with banana stem "husks" and coconut fiber, but i dont think this part matter too much. SO you can keep stacking test tubes on top of each other to grow the colony up.....the rest part of the tank i use as the foraging area where i place the food dish and also drop FF...(freezing the flies before feeding makes them easier for the ants to get) i also have a wad of paper towels int he corner that ia keep moist to maintain high humidity...that is about it...pretty simple. YOu can probably finda colony of ghost ants in a local greenhouse even if you live up north....
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,795 Posts
My wife used to think frogs were pretty cool.

Now she puts up with the fact that I spend a lot of time on my hobby.

This... this would be the last straw. ;)

s :?
Ben E said:
... YOu can probably finda colony of ghost ants in a local greenhouse even if you live up north....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
well i work in a greenhouse and have come across a few different species. I am hoping that i can continue the colony growing and they will subdivide themselves into other test tubes and then maybe i could plug a test tube and ship it....that is far down the road, but that is what i am thinking for feeding as well, just remove a test tube and place in the frog cage and then the frogs can eat away...once the numbers dwindle in the colony i remove it and let it build back up....they are still going pretty good...i have even been feeding them to metemorph retics and phantasticus and they can eat them no problem....they are about the size of a springtail....ben
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,799 Posts
I see those ants all the time in my house, the ghost ants, and am going to try it out, have tried with the little black ants with great success....but they got out lol.

Ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ah, i see you are lucky enough to live in florida where ghost ants are one of the most common house pests....try it out...it is the best "potential feeder" ant i have come across so far....let me know if you need any food recipes...there are a few decent myrmyclogy lists that can help you out with the culture as well.....ben
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,799 Posts
I'd love some recipes! Also would like to know some sties i could find info from, cause I always wanted to feed ants since thats what they eat in the wild.

Thanks
Ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hey man, just checked on my test tube colonies today and there are eggs and larvae in EVERy tube!!! just made some new food today too. I will have to find my recipe and post it tomorrow....but they really like fruit flies and have had luck with making little food balls out of fish food and honey mixed together....need to get some pics of all the eggs..they are cranking....might be able to send of colonies soon!!!!! Ben
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,604 Posts
Be careful

Ant colonies are cool to build and watch. I will admit that I am weak on my hymenoptera group, but be careful with ants, especially Argentine ants. This was a topic that popped up again and again on frognet.org and some people had some mixed results. I believe it had to do with the formic acid that these ants produce. Not that the frogs would express the acids so much but that they would make em sick. Ben how often and how many ants are your frogs taking in a feeding? I am sure that they would go nuts for them, but I would be reluctant to use them. But still, if it works for you and your frogs than do it.
Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,921 Posts
Re: Be careful

ED's_Fly_Meat_Inc said:
Ant colonies are cool to build and watch. I will admit that I am weak on my hymenoptera group, but be careful with ants, especially Argentine ants. This was a topic that popped up again and again on frognet.org and some people had some mixed results. I believe it had to do with the formic acid that these ants produce. Not that the frogs would express the acids so much but that they would make em sick. Ben how often and how many ants are your frogs taking in a feeding? I am sure that they would go nuts for them, but I would be reluctant to use them. But still, if it works for you and your frogs than do it.
Dave
Hi Dave,

I don't recall anyone reporting problems with darts getting sick after eating ants. But I do recall several people having big problems when argentine ants invaded their vivs. I thought the real problem was that the frogs wouldn't eat the argentines which left the ants free to turn tables on the frogs and become the predators. There also appears to be a tendency for darts not to eat formicine ants although this isn't an absolute rule. I've put forth the hunch that the formic acid plays a role in palatability to the frogs but it is only a hunch. Anyway, that's what I remember from the frognet threads but as you know, I'm old and forgetful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,604 Posts
Hi Brent

Hi Brent,

It was a repetative topic many times. As I read your post I remembered that what you said was indeed a common message. I do recall someone blaming a sick frog on ant feeding though. Can't remember how it turned out. But to expand on yuor point, I cannot stand the smell of a freshly crushed Argentine ant. It would be no surprise to me that they taste bad. If eaten termites before, but not ants. :D damp wood termites from the Sierra Nevadas taste like butter by the way. :wink: It was an entomology initiation, what can I say. I am curious if Ben's frogs will continue on this diet. Keep us posted Ben.
Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
sorry i have not posted in a bit, i actually thought the thread was dead....the ants are still doing very well. i have recently had an explosion of reproductives and i can now see multiple queens in all habitated test tubes. As far as i can tell the frogs i have been feeding them to seem to be doing just fine and have not lost their adoration for them. But i am not feeding only ants. The group of frogs is a metamorph tank containing imitator, fantasticus, retics, and a couple lugubris....well i have always been one to look towards natural history for husbandry insights and both of the genera of ants that are mentioned as an alkaloid precursor in pumilio (Brachymermex and Paratrechina) are formicine ants that have been found in the guts of costa rican species in fair numbers....i am going to south florida in march and one of my goals is to catch a nuptial flight of Brachymermex whose range extends into florida....who knows if i will get lucky or not....so far so good....i just got a digital camera with a decent macro ....how do you upload pictures anyway????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
colony status

Hey Ben,

How is the colony doing? Any attempts in setting up another colony? Email me if you want a guinea pig culture in the Mid Atlantic.

I am assuming this is the species you used in your compost tank?

[email protected]

Yuri
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
This is an interesting topic, feeding ants appeal to me too.

Is it possible to feed only the workers and thus eliminating the risk of getting ant colonies established in the tank? Are the queens easily distinguished from workers?
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top