The Arrival of the Messors
As some of you may know, I reached out recently to get back into Ant Keeping, I was approached by a UK keeper in a predicament, unable to release the species they had, unable to keep the species and more importantly unwilling to kill the colony.
So i went to work researching the species, their care requirements, at this point, like most i was adamant that i would remain #TeamNative, I started speaking to keepers on Facebook groups, the more research i did, the more i realised how readily this exotic species was available in the UK. it was stocked by every single ant store that i looked at. kept by the majority of keepers i encountered, so passionate about the enjoyment, they received from keeping this species.
I had decided i would take on the responsibility and care for this colony, i was confident i could do this responsibly.
And so i took my first step into exotic Ant keeping.
Messor Barbarus The European Harvester Ant.
This species is Monogyne ruled by a single Queen, the workers are polymorphic, they range in sizes to carry out specific tasks, minors, media & major workers, they have a stunning variety of worker size.
They collect seeds & grain as their primary food source, these are stored in underground granaries, the larger workers known as majors with giant heads and power mandibles crush open the shells of these seeds, the insides are then processed into what is refereed to as "Ant Bread" it is chewed up and processed into a type of dough and fed to the colony its high in Protein & contains Carbohydrates. They will of course take advantage of extra protein in the form of insects that fall prey to the colony.
I received this small colony with around 40 workers, i kept them in a test tube & feeding station set up until they filled this space, i then connected them to the Acrylic nest i had waiting they had around 80+ workers with majors, by this stage.
It was at this time, moving them into the acrylic set up i decided to start documenting my journey & these colonies.
Ants & The Colonialist