Messor cephalotes is a species from Africa with elevated demands for food and climate.
Founding: Claustral (no feeding needed until first nanitics)
Distribution: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania.
Habitat: Sandy and shrubby areas.
Colony Form: Monogynous (one queen per colony)
Queen ant: Size: 23-25mm Color: Shiny reddish. Messor queen ant lifespan is up to 25 years.
Worker ants: Size: 5-18mm Color: Shiny reddish, with varying forms. Small (minor: 3-7mm) workers - they usually care for the brood and Queen ant's needs. Normal-sized (media: 6-10mm) ones - care for the ants' bread-making and nest cleaning. Majors - protect the colony's nest and the queen. Sometimes cooperate with the media workers regarding seeds' chewing.
Diet: Seeds of different grasses and wild plants, as well as small insects like mealworms, locusts and crickets.
Feeding: Give the young colonies and founding queens more protein jelly and honey, while established colonies with 50-100 workers can be fed seed mix.
How to feed them and how much?
So the golden rule is 1 seed per ant per month. Feed them every two weeks (half dosage, for instance: 30 ants = 15 seeds every two weeks). The first feeding dose must be doubled. Keep an eye on their food storage so they always have one nest’s chamber full of seeds.
Humidity: outworld: 40-50%; nest: 60-70%
Temperature: outworld: 24-30°C; nest: 24-28°C. It would be best if you used a heat mat.
Ant Farm: consider a large ant farm.
Decoration: pebbles, twigs etc.
Description: This species is primarily a granivorous ant that collects small seeds and chews them into antbread. They obtain most of their water from seeds and insects. Messor cephalotes ants tend to drown in open water, so it is important to use a water feeder.
Colony Age: Up to 27 years
Colony Size: Up to 10,000 worker ants
Do's and Don'ts
Avoid direct sunlight on the setup.
The sun can heat the nest with up to 5 degrees Celsius for only 5 minutes so lots of toxins are being accumulated in the ants' bodies due to abrupt temperature changes. This can kill a worker ant for 1-3 days and a queen ant for 3-5 days if the sun does not boil the ants alive before that.
It is important to note that gel farms are not a suitable habitat for harvester ants, as they can quickly become mouldy and do not provide the necessary nutrition for the colony. To ensure the safety and well-being of these fascinating creatures, it is essential to provide them with a proper ant farm and diet.
Escape Prevention: Harvester ants are not the best climbers but if you do not want to deal with escaped ants, which is a common issue while you feed them, apply about an inch wide of PTFE Fluon.
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