A single bright red queen stumbles into a black nest filled with workers just as dark. It runs for the brood pile, grabs an egg, and then pretends to die.
At first, the workers are confused. Who is she? What's she here for? At some point, they accept her into the colony. That moment is where the takeover begins. The queen will lay her eggs, and the workers will take care of them as their own. Eventually, she takes over as the dominant queen, and the dark brown workers are replaced with bright specks of red.
Aphaenogaster tennesseensis, or the Tennessee Thread-Waisted Ant, is a parasitic species of Aphaenogaster and the only ten-I-see. This species has bright red queens which are smaller than the equally colourful workers. With colonies of several thousand workers, these ants create colonies much larger than their host species, Aphaenogaster rudis and picea. These queens also accept fully hardened host workers, and are probably the easiest parasite to keep. They do best under 30-50% humidity and 24-27 degrees Celsius, with a substrate as they have no social stomach and will need something to soak up liquids