Aphaenogaster occidentalis (Western Collared Ant)
Aphaenogaster occidentalis (Western Collared Ant)
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Aphaenogaster occidentalis (Western Collared Ant)

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An underground society pervades the soils of British Columbia and much of the west coast as a whole. This species, Aphaenogaster occidentalis, has an elegant gait and a tendency to start colonies in groups of 3-5 queens. Unlike many ants, those queens stay with each other as the colony grows. Being suited to a diverse climate, you're just as likely to find them in the forest as the Okanagan deserts. In each of these locations, the colour varies just a little bit, so even if you've had several queens of this species, and colonies range from blood red to jet black. Even for ant-keepers who have already kept the species, every new colony can provide a fresh outlook.

They do best under 30-50% humidity and 24-27 degrees Celsius, and with a substrate as they have no social stomach and need something to soak up liquids. Workers are 4-6mm while queens are 7-8mm. Although relatively slow-growing, they do considerably better in groups and when fed lots of insect protein. This species may accept new queens.

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