*Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

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    • *Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      Hello, i just wanted to share my experience with you of this beautiful ant. ( sorry this is in english )

      I bought a colony of these which arrived about the 18th Oct 2011. I had previously constructed a y-tong nest prior to the ant arriving and siliconed it in place inside the 40x25x25cm arena. The substrate in fine white reptile sand and i poured some into the nest. The y-tong was still slightly damp after washing and the sand stuck to the condensation on the glass obstructing the view, but it is slowly dissapearing. I am using a perspex vented lid with a daylight bulb and the arena is heated by a heatmat on the bottom with a stat for safety. The temp on the surface is about 40c and 25c at the top.


      About 50 ish ants arrived but no eggs larvae or pupae which was a bit worrying and were held in a small plastic tub with toilet paper inside. Opening the lid the ants were soon exploring their new home. When i went back to see later i saw a large worker carrying the queen. I thought she was dead and went to touch it and she riggled slightly and the worker put her down only for another worker to pick her up just like a female cat with a kitten and took her into the nest.

      Worker carrying queen.


      Queen waiting to be picked up by another worker


      I have offered them sugar and honey water but ive only seen one or two ants feeding from both so no real preferance yet. Also fed mealworms and crickets which i have directly dropped into the nest. The ant act extremely violently and overcome the prey quickly. There are two mealworm beetles living in the arena but these have been untouched.
      When the cover is removed from the nest the ants panic and run everywhere. I have noticed some carrying small white lumps as they are running and assumed it was sand but i managed to catch a snap on my camera and i was very pleased to see that they were carrying larvae.

      4th Nov 2011

      Not great pics but you can see the small larvae.


      Eggs and larvae


      9th Nov 2011
      6 days ago i took pics of the new eggs and tiny larvae and today i’m taking pictures of large larvae and pupae. I know cataglyphis develop fast but not this fast. Although after the move from the package to the new nest i could see no sign of any brood and suddenly we are here.
      The ants themselves have mostly stayed inside the nest and i sometimes see one ore two out drinking from the sugar/honey water so a little dissapointing visually but maybe perhaps because i’m not giving them heat from the top. I was hoping with the presence of larvae, may have made them more active . I still can’t see into the top tier of the nest very well but most of the ants stay at the bottom where it is warmer.


      I missed filming the large larvae here but you can just see some eggs and plenty of pupae..

      Couldnt resist showing you just one more pic of the eggs larvae and pupae.

      The queen.


      19th Nov 11
      Well here she is, the first adult to emerge from the cocoon after only 10 days, and only 15 days after i first saw the tiny larvae. She is a beautiful bright orange and looks like shes been designated to looking after the kids.



      The rest of the colony are still staying in the nest for most of the time but i am seeing more activity outside gradually. One annoying point is that they are using one of the nest chambers as their dump which may eventually attract mites. I can also see the empty cocoon on the tip from which the baby hatched.

      21st Nov 11
      Larvae and newly hatched ants. The large white lumps are pieces of chicken which they seem to enjoy and feed the larvae on. There seems to be mainly two ants that go out to forage together, i can tell because they both have damaged antennae.



      4 Dec 11

      I remember reading somewhere that this species builds a stick nest. I’m not at all sure what this means but i have put some very thin twigs about the arena and sure enough the ants have today tried to put them inside the nest. Most of the twigs however are placed over the entrance holes, maybe to obscure light entering the nest or more likely they just couldnt manouvre them into the nest through the holes.
      New ants continue to hatch daily and their numbers are growing really fast. The ants are now very active day and night hunting for insects to feed to the larvae, which is given to them after they have cut pieces off rather than give them whole corpses. There seems to be three nurseries for the larvae, the eggs and newly hatched are held in the nurses mouths and suspended mostly from the ceiling out of harms way. The older larvae have their own section and the oldest have another section. The pupae are also distibuted in different areas perhaps to regulate incubation ? but i still havent seen one actually hatching..

      11 Dec 11

      Food carcasses in the nest are beginning to take up room and today
      at least one ant has decided to do some house work at last. She is picking up
      tiny pieces and dropping them just outside the nest entrance, and returning back
      about every 20 seconds with some more bits. Hopefully the trend will catch
      on and she will get some help.

      I have made a discussion thread here. eusozial.de/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=1578

      Thanks for reading

      Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 1 mal editiert, zuletzt von andie215 ()

    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      16th Dec 11

      The ants have continued to collect small sticks and take them into the nest, however they just leave them in no order throughout . I don't see any reason for this unless its to form partitions ? The nest clean up only lasted a few hours and the lone worker did get some more help but they must have got bored and gave up. The nest stilll remains in quite a mess.
      I can't believe the speed these ants are reproducing at, and already i am thinking to the future and building them a large arena. I am considering making this from plywood and wonder if this would be durable enough or if the ants would chew through.

      Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 1 mal editiert, zuletzt von andie215 ()

    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      This species can climb the glass with difficulty, but just brushing some dry talcum powder around the top will easily cause them to fall back to the bottom. I am using a perpex lid at the moment and the heat from the bulb that sits on the top warps it slightly causing gaps to appear, so some protection against escape is needed.
      There are now always ants out in the arena and its great fun watching them go about their business, digging in the sand like little terrier dogs. They run around so fast at times they crash into each other which seem to end in minor disputes over who's fault it was, just like car drivers :)

      Naturally heat would be from above but because i am heating from the bottom i was worried that the ants would try to get lower to escape the heat but they seems to be coping just fine. They obviously know best.


      Nest front

    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      The ants have been busy cleaning the nest and as you can see they are using nearly half of the arena as a rubbish tip. Its funny because there is one ant that spends alot of her time running to and fro with a grain of sand trying to cover over the rubbish. I will clean this out in the new year.


      I have noticed that the ants water has been evaporating from the milk bottle lid. What seems to be happening is that they are building a bridge from sand to get to the top easier. Maybe they find climbing on the surface to difficult but the sand is causing the water to leak out. This is different from Messor barbarus as they cover their water bowl with sand perhaps in an attempt to hide it.

    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      Hi, Andie.

      The larvae have certainly not slowed its development for a winter rest, Cataglyphis always hibernates without brood. Similarly, colony prepares your not preparing for a winter rest, there would be no fresh laid eggs in it.

      I would consider normal. At the beginning of the incubation period is usually much more brood reared continuously as later in the breeding season, at least for the Catagyphis.
      The colonies in captivity rarely attract the masses now beginning to animals such as gender-free country in the colonies. The production of the larger sex animal consumes more resources.
      Balancing the colony to attract workers in captivity, including more, because almost certainly less resources need to grow up.

      LG, Frank.
    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      There hasn't been any cocoons present now for at least 3 weeks and although there are larvae present, they are also disappearing. I can't see any eggs either and the appetite of the ants has also decreased. Perhaps they are feeding on the larvae, they are going somewhere ? The queen is still active and so are the ants with only a few deaths in the colony.

      I have changed the water facility as they bridge the milk bottle top with sand causing the water to leak out. I am now using a water filled test tube and this works much better.

    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      So in April i moved the colony into a bigger arena and made the nest bigger giving them an extra tier, if breeding continues as fast this year the ants would need the room. I modified an old dart frog vivarium 60 x 45 x 45 cm with a 55w dulux lighting and a 100w spot which i changed later to a 100w red heat lamp.


      However very little has happened since the change, there has been no brood and i think this it is because the colony did not have a winters break perhaps ? . The queen appears healthy and so seem the rest of the colony, although not so abundant in the arena. They seem happy to take protein mainly in the form of roaches but are filling the tunnels with their bodies. Maybe this is because the tunnels are to wide ? The arena daytime temp is about 32 c and drops to 20c at night. The nest is heated only at the top during the day from the red heat bulb. There was a small 7 wat heat pad on the nest but the ants moved away from this so i removed it. I hope the queen begins to lay soon...
    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      I too have a 200 head colony of C.desertorum (although mixed with C.viaticus) and there has been little activity for the last 2 weeks. Very little brood (about 2o larvae in all and 4 pupae), little outside activity, the ants mainly hang from the ceiling of their chambers. Temperature is similar to yours , I only heat the nest more (top 27°, bootom 22°).Most of the protein food gets just nibbled, but they regularly suck sugarwater and drink. Seems they take a break.
    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      I noticed back in January that something was going wrong. All the larvae had stopped growing and were slowly disappearing , it appeared that they were not being fed or the ants were eating them. All the existing pupae hatched, and the queen stopped laying eggs around February, so it may be feasible that they are having a break even though i had never lowered the temps as i had bought them so late in the year. My situation does seem similar to yours Antic..
    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      I got my colony at the beginning of April (4th to be precise) with around 90 pupae , almost no larvae and no eggs. The queen startet to lay eggs only after two weeks and then very sparsely. The ants feed the larvae but as I said there are no more than 20 in all. At the moment they are not even interested in crickets or flies , today they only carried one very small cricket in their nest. Three more lie untouched around. I even tried heating the nest with an infrared bulb but they shy the warmth like yours. So I think we just have to wait. Keep me informed!
    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      Hey there,

      Even though my experiences refer to C. oasium and not C. cf. desertorum I can state my colony shows the same behavioral issues like yours. I received the queen with just some pupae and first (introduced) workers. No brood got raised throughout the winter as I kept the small colony at just about 20°C. After increasing the temperature to about 28°C step by step a lot of eggs were laid and resulting workers replaced the old ones within no time. Unfortunately they afterwards stopped raising any brood again until I encountered three larvae and a tiny pile of eggs yesterday.

      The colony seems to be healthy and sugar water gets readily accepted, but only small amounts of protein are consumed. There haven't been changes to the environmental factors under which I keep the colony, so I'm clueless what causes their kinda strange behavior?!

    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      Finally the first eggs i have spotted since the queen stopped laying in late January, earlier this year. It is really good to see she is laying again after a break of about 5 months. I have not made any changes except for taking the small heat pad away from the side of the nest a few weeks ago. I noticed last night that the ants had taken away a cricket, which previously they had been ignoring, so there may also be some small larvae i can’t see in the nest too.

    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      Hello Andie,
      in the nest when it should not be everywhere at the Cataglyphis also very warm, especially the Queen takes place in the summer, as with many other soil-Formicinae back to the starting phase of offspring production in deeper and cooler nest areas. In the early summer time you can find the queens in the upper parts warm nest, probably the queen of the heat used to begin their egg laying and the onset of development of the ovaries. Later, however, she retreats into deeper parts of the nest, lays here but throughout the breeding season usually new eggs.
      Heat is very important for the inhabitants of hot regions as Cataglyphis subtropical latitudes, but the nest just takes a certain temperature gradient.
      In real deeper layers of soil from about 50 cm soil depth is noticeably cooler in spite of intense sunlight, the queen holds in these areas to nest in summer.

      LG Frank.
    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      Hi everyone,

      congrats Andie :) Nice to see that your colony is making progress. I too have a little colony (~15 workers) of C. oasium. To my regret the queen hasn't laid any eggs as well. I have them for four weeks now. They take water, sugar water and a cricket like every other day. I adjusted the temp gradient in the nest so that only the top gets heated to roughly 30°C and the bottom is at room temp. I try to moisten only the very bottom of the nest. However the queen seems not to be doing anything. Also there seems to be only one worker really active and the others just hanging around.

      Nevertheless your success right now gives me hope that eventually the queen overthinks her lack of egg production... Would be great to hear what you think of the way i keep them - i have a little report posted in this forum. Its in german but the pics should speak for themselves.

      My biggest worry actually is that the workers die before the queen provides the eggs to replace them :denken:

      Anyways it would be cool to exchange experiences with you :)
      Messor barbarus (>500)
      Messor capitatus (>300)
      Pogonomyrmex maricopa (>30)
      Pheidole spathifera (>500)
      Cataglyphis oasium (~20)
    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      In my colony of C.desertorum mixed with C.viaticus life is equally at ease. There are always a few eggs , 7 to 10 larvae and an equal amount of pupae.I water a small part of the nest once a week and heat part of the nest with a red light bulb from the top to get a more pronounced temperature gradient but so far this has brought no dramatic change, the ants are just taking it easy it seems. They take in food regularly , sugar water and around 4 insects per day . We should inform one another if one of us gets an increase in population that is worth speaking of.
    • Re: Cataglyphis cf. desertorum

      Thanks for all the replies :)

      I never conditioned my ants correctly for their winters break and i think this may have caused them to have a late breeding season. Saying that though, i don't seem to be the only keeper experiencing this. Thomas, the conditions you have are very much the same as mine except that i took away the heat mat. I only use a 100 wat red bulb now for heating during daytime and just room temps at night. The nest at the bottom is about 25c and the top 35c, and at night between 18- 22 c. I often forget to ad any water. :roll: