Messor aciculatus Queen with 1-5 workers
Scientific name: Messor Aciculatus
Country of origin: China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Russia
Easy, Skilled, Specialist: Easy, however, higher escape prevention required than most easy species
Colony size: Up to 10,000 individuals - average 1000 individuals
This species is Polygyne meaning they can have multiple queens per colony - it is difficult to add queens once the colony have reached a larger size so we advise only adding queens at the founding stage of the colony. More queens means faster development!
Queen average life expectancy: Up to 20 years, averages around 10-15 years
Queens are claustral meaning they don't need to be fed during founding.
Natural habitat: Sand and shrub areas, open grassland
Worker size: 4-5mm (no majors)
Queen size: 10mm
Behaviour: These are bold ants which will venture from their nest a once the colony has developed more than 20 workers. They would much rather eat seeds than have to kill live food but are still rather inquisitive
Defense: They will defend their nest and queen ferociously, however they aren't particularly raiders so are unlikely to attack other colonies.
Venom/warning: They are not venomous and due to their smallish size they will not be able to harm humans
Food and nutrition: This is one of the areas which makes this species particularly interesting - unlike most species which eat insects as their main source of protein, this species of ants eat seeds of grass and rampant plants which they turn into 'ant bread’. They don't require many sweet foods because they get enough from the seeds, however, it is advised to give them sugar water anyway. They will eat live/pre-killed insects but prefer seeds.
They can store seeds for a long while before turning it into ant bread and they hoard it in their nests, we advise not to give them too many seeds at a time for two reasons - Seeds may germinate if left in a well-hydrated nest for too long and if they have too many seeds they won't need to forage, making the keeping experience less exciting.
Temperature: Room temperature is suitable however we recommend a couple degrees higher for good brood development. This higher temperature can be obtained using a heat mat or heat cable, when using either of these you must use a thermostat - without one your heat mat/cable may reach too high a temperature and cook the ants.