The 2nd biggest species of Messor in the world! - (Heat Required)
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Within our ant kingdoms there are few wonders more deserving of our admiration than the Messor Arenarius. Found in Northern Africa and the Middle East they are the largest harvester ant in the Middle East and second only to the Messor Cephalotes in the world.
Unlike most other messor's the Arenarius is not a trail forager (ants that discover and harvest using long busy trails of pheromones which other workers follow) Instead they are individual foragers. They explore and search sporadically and as such move slower and collect less seeds than other messor species usually would.
The individual foraging trait gives way to a few characteristics that the Arenarius display. Firstly they are not very aggressive when foraging, they run from danger and avoid it (a must given they are not in trails with large numbers of support), as such the rarely consume insects as they would not challenge one unless it is an easy target. Instead they will harvest dead insects that are carry-able.
Messor Arenarius has a diet made up from seeds and grains to the value of around 90%. Their "run from danger" approach should not be confused with passive though. In defense of a colony they are avid warriors. When intruders loom their slower response is met with a majors bite, majors who are up to 18mm. Even the media workers challenge the size of a Messor Barbarus queen.
Where most messor species are extremely sensitive to light and vibration the Arenarius is much more protective of her colony and less affected by it, usually up to the point the first majors arrive. It is not uncommon to see your Arenarius queen charge a threat with mandibles open wide. In our experience, even in small colonies of 50 or so workers, the queen will still investigate trouble herself ready to take on the intruder.
In the wild colonies grow to between 800 and 1,500 workers. This is logical as their foraging method is slower and they are much larger than other harvesters. Although there are 2 studies (the first states the above and the second (earlier one) states 5,000 workers, however it has no demonstrable reasoning like the later, newer study).
Age - Up to 13 years (estimated)
Monogyne - One queen per nest
Fully Claustral - No food until first workers
Size - 18mm to 22mm
Temperature & Humidity
Nest 22 to 26 Degrees | Outworld 25 to 30 Degrees
Nest 50% to 70% | Seed Store 30% to 50%
Will slow for a period in winter months November to February at 15 Degrees
Minor Worker - 5mm to 8mm
Media Worker - 9mm to 13mm
Major Worker - 14mm to 18mm
They will bite if threatened
Seeds, Nuts, Grains, Occasional Sugar, Occasional extra protein.
Always ensure a constant fresh water supply is provided
Type Natural, Acrylic, Sand, Earth, Glass
Egg to Adult Worker - 8 to 10 weeks