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Aphaenogaster subterranea
The most northern Aphaenogster, darkbrown in colour instead of the typical black. Even though they resemble Myrmica a lot, they are much easier to care for. Like their Spanish cousins, they deal well with irregular care and are a surprisingly good choice for complete beginners.
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Camponotus cruentatus
While one of the largest European species, they are different from the other Camponotus. They are probably the most thermophile of the genus in Europe (living also in North-Africa). They can be tricky to raise from a single queen as they are more sensitive to stress and have a more narrow acceptable foundation temperature.
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Camponotus ligniperda
One of the largest ants of Europe, this is a very imposing species. Not very active in the beginning however and if the colony has enough food for its current brood, workers stay mostly in the nest. The hardest about these ants is the required patience as they develop very slowly and it can take several years to get past a hundred workers.
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Camponotus nicobarensis
A smaller Camponotus species from Asia. This species grows relatively quickly and is very active. It also has a very pretty color pattern of brown bands.
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Camponotus sylvaticus
A smaller, slightly darker version of C.barbaricus. They are a typicaly 'mid-size Camponotus' and their colony will grow faster compared to their larger cousins. Which also means that their workers will be considerably more active and appreciative in accepting proteins. This makes it one of the easiest European Camponotus species to keep.
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Crematogaster scutellaris
The name of this species comes from, when alarmed, they raise their heart-shaped gaster up in the air like a shield. Combined with their striking red head this makes them a very charismatic little ant. They are exceptionally good climbers and do well in dry nests with heating. They also love digging nests in cork.
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Formica fusca
One of the most common European species but you'll rarely notice many of them. These fast-moving ants tends to operate on their own, many meters away from their well-hidden nest, usually in dry, open fields where most other species will have a hard time surviving. A very active small to medium-sized species with a lot of character and easy to keep.
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Lasius flavus
Though rarely seen, it's actually an abundant species hiding under almost every grass field in North-Europe. While quite timid and slow-growing, eventually this beautiful ant becomes almost as bold als their darker cousins. As a exception to Lasius, they also exhibit polygyny and some polymorphism.
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Lasius niger
This is most common ant in West-Europe that everyone's familiar with. This also means people don't realize what a tough, flexible and little species they actually are. It's hard to go wrong with these ants, making them the first choice for beginning ant keepers.
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Manica rubida
The largest stinging ants of Europe. This species resembles Myrmica, except the workers are twize the size and their single queens are quite spectacular. Capable hunters but they do frequently need sugars. Their semi-claustral foundation can be rather tricky to get succesfully to the first workers.
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Messor aciculatus
A very easy to keep granivorous species. An East-Asian species, it lacks the typical majors of the European species though also slightly less thermophilic.
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Messor barbarus
As an very easy-to-keep granivore with big red-headed majors, this is often a popular choice among beginning ant-keepers. However, they are a very stress-sensitive species which makes them quite tricky unless they have enough workers (~50) and a few majors. Please keep this in mind when selecting a colony size.
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Messor wasmanni
A smaller, less common Messor species from the eastern Mediterranean that can be recognized by their shiny black color and a reddish hue on the thorax. A relatively easy species that does well with some heating during the summer and just room temperature in the winter.