Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lasius claviger Hanging Out

Well there was another nuptial flight today and once again my Goldenrod plants had queens purchased. They weren't doing much of anything, just standing still. A Myrmecologiest I know suggested they might have Summit Disease. The study posted talks about a different species, Formica rufa, but there are a number of diseases out there that take advantage of certain groups of ants. So maybe something similar is at work here.

This one didn't even bother to remove her other wing. She just laid there motionless but still clearly alive. The only thing I can think of is that maybe they hang around on tall plants to warm up in the early morning.

But really I would think it more beneficial to look for a host colony. Other queens on the ground immediately remove their wings after mating and scurry along to find a place to over winter or a host colony to parasatize.

Along with Goldenrod I also see them on the Joe Pye Weed and Perennial Sunflower, all fairly tall plants. I didn't look much at the perennials but I imagen I could find some on them too.

Even at night (not photoed) there were tons of these queens still motionless doing nothing. Ones that I did photo I'm reasonably sure still hadn't moved. I'll report back if it's just warming up, if they're still there tomorrow, and or if they start sprouting mushrooms.