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RE: New To Horned Lizards

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Posted by: fireside3 at Mon Jul 28 05:06:38 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by fireside3 ]  

>>Hey Mike,
>> You often talk about a particular ant species that has caused death in HLs, and I've heard it reference elsewhere as well. Do you know what species this is?

Iridomyrmex pruinosus , which was subsequently re-classed to genus Forelius. Common name "Lawn Ant". It was cited by Montanucci in his "Propagation" paper. I also have numerous entomology related links which reference the chemical components of various insects, from their venom constituents, to the alarm pheromones.

For this reason I stay away from anything that is suspect, and this usually includes small ants found on lawns, in cracks in concrete, around the walls of homes, and anything which my sources indicate has similar chemical makeup or alarm pheromones to lawn ants.

>>It's been my experience that HLs can do well with quite a variation in ants species, and that includes North America and Europe (not my personal experience).

I don't doubt variation in wild HL diet, as there are many species of ant in the desert. But, at this point I don't think it has been established with much certainty that a variation outside of Pogos is significant, other than perhaps Honey Pot ants, which appears to be incidental due to the fact that Honey Pots are scavengers and hang around Pogos in order to steal food from them.

Variation among other species of ant that may be found within their range is logical. It is recommended prey that is not even native in their area which concerns me.

For Europe, I recommend Messor barbarus to those who have asked, as they are a European harvester ant, which sustains on a very similar diet as the N. American variety. Mainly seeds and some fruits.

>>There are examples of cornutum in places like Florida, South >>Carolina,

Easy to explain those...the Pogonomyrmex badius is native to Florida and the Carolinas, often right around the sandy beach areas that the artificially introduced HLs have taken up residence. I often instruct new HL keepers who contact me about ants, to go look for P. badius in their own back yard.

>>and I've even heard of one that went through the summer in the >>great lakes area. These are certainly not regions native to the >>species currently. Although it could be the case that sometime >>in the distant past they were native to these areas so they may >>carry some natural resistance to micro-flora.
>>Do you have any literature on the subject?

No, I have been gathering more papers on the entomology side, but I would beg a copy of the particular case details first. Anything is possible, but could be non-reproduceable fluke as well. I imagine a HL probably find something to eat and stay alive one year in the wild in the North East, but it could just as easily partake of something that could kill it.

My primary concern is that with only a few anecdotal examples and simplistic reasoning, that new comers will get the idea to try anything. Long term health effects on these other feeders is also not conclusive at this point. What we do know, is that experience from nature shows without a doubt what HLs do eat, and when that food source is not present, HLs are not present.

Even in Fla and Carolinas, HLs only thrived in areas where a species of Pogo also was native. It is interesting that this happened...that one of the few examples of artificially introduced HLs that has been successful in establishing new populations, happened in an area of the country which just so happened to be inhabited by an eastern species of Pogo. Hasn't worked anywhere else, even in places where HLs used to inhabit, where Argentine army or Brazilian fire ants have now taken over.

>>I don't disagree with you that even the right ant species from a non-native location might offer issues. I am all for caution when trying out new things, whether they be ants or other insects, as you suggest. It would be helpful if we could put a name to the ants/insects known to cause issues.

Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue
Harvester Ants


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