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  #1  
Old 07-02-2019, 03:33 PM
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Question Ants as Allies

I'm a beginner but I figured this was an advanced question. basically I'm looking for information about orchids such as those belonging to the Myrmecophila genus who have a mutualistic relationship with ants. My husband is an entomologist and we were playing with the idea of creating a terrarium to explore this.

Does anyone keep these orchids? do you keep them with ants? What is your set up like?
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:48 PM
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I have several "Schomburgkia" orchids (sorry, I still call them Schomburgkia and not Myrmecophila, I am sure tomorrow they will be labelled as something else) mounted outside on a crate and myrtle tree. They naturally always have ants crawling over them and living in the old pbulbs. My understanding is, in captivity, schomburgkia's do not require ants for cultivation. So as long as you provide the appropriate conditions for the plant in the terrarium (light, water, humidity, air flow, fertilizer, etc.) you will not NEED ants in the terrarium at all.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:31 PM
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But we WANT the ants lol, that's the only reason we would bother with the terrarium.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:04 AM
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One problem with orchids in the genus Myrmecophila... they tend to be big, and need a LOT of light (nearly full sun). I think growing them in a terrarium would be very challenging - with or without the ants.

I grow Myrmecophila tibicinis outside in southern California. These don't even think about blooming until they're large - and they're heavy too, with those big pseudobulbs. They like to be mounted, or in a basket with minimal media.
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Old 07-03-2019, 02:19 AM
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Most plants that ants associate with are going to become massive. One type of these plants that actually are fairly amenable to larger but still typical household terraria are the shingling members of the genera Hoya and Dischidia. They're vines with flat leaves that grow epiphytically on vertical surfaces, and ants will utilize hollow space under the leaves.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:46 AM
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Out of curiosity, how do you prevent ants from escaping the terrarium (escape prevention)?
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisdomseeker View Post
Out of curiosity, how do you prevent ants from escaping the terrarium (escape prevention)?
Baby power barrier smeared around the edge, or sometimes a water barrier depending on the species. My husband is the expert on that front.
AntsCanada is a good place to start learning if your interested, they have a website and a great YouTube channel.

---------- Post added at 08:43 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:38 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subrosa View Post
Most plants that ants associate with are going to become massive. One type of these plants that actually are fairly amenable to larger but still typical household terraria are the shingling members of the genera Hoya and Dischidia. They're vines with flat leaves that grow epiphytically on vertical surfaces, and ants will utilize hollow space under the leaves.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
One problem with orchids in the genus Myrmecophila... they tend to be big, and need a LOT of light (nearly full sun). I think growing them in a terrarium would be very challenging - with or without the ants.

I grow Myrmecophila tibicinis outside in southern California. These don't even think about blooming until they're large - and they're heavy too, with those big pseudobulbs. They like to be mounted, or in a basket with minimal media.
Ok, so more research is needed. Thanks for the information, we may just need our orchids and ants separated until we have more space for ant loving orchids
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Old 07-23-2019, 10:04 PM
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You are going to need a VERY tall terrarium to accommodate the inflorescence (if you can get them to bloom in that environment).
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  #9  
Old 07-24-2019, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairorchids View Post
You are going to need a VERY tall terrarium to accommodate the inflorescence (if you can get them to bloom in that environment).
I agree. Did you know that "very tall terrarium" is just another phrase for "greenhouse"?
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  #10  
Old 07-24-2019, 05:33 PM
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Default ants, terrarium

a greenhouse would be fine for the orchids themselves, but the original idea was to have them with their native ant species, which would be NON-Indigenous to where we live and therefore need strict containment protocols that simply aren't feasible in a larger greenhouse environment.
we have shelved this idea for now, unless we set up a contained terrarium within the greenhouse near the orchids just for educational purposes.
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