Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lasius claviger Fail

Well spring is here and the parasitic Lasius species are in full gear. Here is the image of Lasius claviger from a few days ago. Earlier today I was out looking for more groups of these about the yard, when I accidentally found a colony of L. alienus. Their log sort of collapsed into my lap and I had the nursery exposed. I'm still getting used to my new camera and wanted to be calm about the colony so my images aren't the best.

This is under the log to the Lasius alienus colony. You can see they have a lot of brood already. But also note the brown/red corpses in the top right and scattered about. These are the graves of failed Lasius claviger queens that tried to take over this colony.

I know one method used by this ant was to play dead and be brought in as food. I don't think this is the case here as many are missing their heads.
Even inside the nest, (just under the bark of the log which collapsed) there are dead queen. Note the eggs scattered about in the background. These were likely brought in as food or executed upon their discovery inside the brood nest.

Lasius alienus larvae (and some other Lasius too) are covered in tiny hairs.

Hopefully accidentally exposing the brood nest to this colony doesn't open the door for more Lasius claviger queens. Lord knows my yard has enough colonies of those as it is.