Monday, August 17, 2009

Lasius latipes

Two nights ago I caught a Lasius latipes queen. She was running around at night, this was about 9:30pm. I assume like all Lasius they fly in the late afternoon. The thing is though she's a social parasite. Meaning she needs to find a host colony, in this case another Lasius species, and replace it's queen.

I'd always been fasinated by how bulky the legs are on this ant. What are they used for? Other social parasitic Lasius don't have them! So I put her in the foraging area to a colony of Lasius neoniger to see what would happen.

Pretty much she ran around frantically nonstop. Often times she would just fall over onto her back. It's kind of an issue really. The slightest bit of something would cause her to fall over and she'd struggle to right herself. By yesterday morning she was dead, just having exherted herself.

A few times though she did get into the Lasius neoniger colony, but she never did anything. If I catch another I'm tempted to just put her in the tube and close it up with the colony.

She is a tank! Those big legs are just well armored and I think that's what they're used for. Considering the workers to the host colony are barely the size of her head. I don't think she'd have any trouble just bardging into a colony and tearing the head off the host queen. Indifferently, though, that didn't happen. She had ample opertunity too.

Oh well, better luck next year.