Specialised Ant Rearing Equipment

Some species of ant are very difficult to raise in captivity, requiring complex conditions to rear and keep them comfortable. This means that sometimes specialised setups are required to collect and/or care for them. I am working on testing various applications for rearing difficult species, especially cryptic ones, and include my findings here.

Cryptic Soil Mix

A good cryptic soil mix is very beneficial to species like Carebara longii, Strumigenys mixa, Stigmatomma oregonense, Mystrium camillae, Myrmecina americana, Stenamma brevicorne, or others that inhabit leaf litter in the wild. It's taken from the concept of leaf litter decomposition in the wild.

What makes a good substrate?

     Through my quest to determine what makes a good substrate, I have explored the substrate of many nests. I have determined that the important aspects involved with a good substrate is:
Moisture Retention followed by malleability as well as particle size and finally optimal composition similarity

     Most substrates fit 1-2 of these conditions for the species they are containing but it's rare for them to have all 4. It's nearly impossible to replicate a soil exactly but one can come close.

   Cryptosoil Is a project I'm working on to fit at least 3, possibly 4 of these categories for species inhabiting leaf litter. It uses many ingredients to make this happen.
 

How Cryptosoil Works

     Cryptosoil has many components that make up a solid soil base that is used to keep ants happy and healthy! Using a mixture of wood soil, arboreal mycelium, rich hummus, springtails, blended leaves, mosses, sand, charcoal, and composted decayed leaves to form a great soil for your ants!
 

arboreal mycelium
helps the soil remain malleable and keeps a strong healthy base that helps with decomposition. It takes 3-6 months to grow.

Wood Soil
Fermented for 4-6 months from oak pellets creates a particulate base for larval scaffolding and helps contain moisture and grow arboreal mycelium