Claustral and Semi Claustral
A Queen is said to be Claustral/Fully claustral (able to remain sealed in a test tube/nest, and to produce her first brood solely on her own bodily nutritional reserves), or Semi claustral (production of her first brood produced using her own bodily nutritional reserves and by active foraging for food outside of the test tube/nest. Very small Nanitic Worker Ants
are more likely to be produced by a Claustral/Fully claustral Queen, than by a Semi claustral Queen that forages as well.
Nanitic Worker Ants
The first worker Ants to appear belonging to a newly mated Queen are called Nanitic workers. The Nanitic workers
are the pioneers of a new colony. These first workers hatch from their pupa will be smaller than usual and very light in colour. The lighter colour is due to the exoskeleton hardening and over a few hours will darken and take on the original colour of the worker. The Queen will raise these workers by feeding them some of her eggs. Whilst the Queen has been caring for the eggs and larvae, waiting for the first Nanitics workers to arrive, she has been fasting and only feeding off her reserves and fat wing muscles. It is quite important to allow the Nanitic workers to leave their test tube to find food and give the Queen some much needed sustenance. This first food can be a drop of sugar-water and a very small crushed up piece of Insect protein.
Lasius niger colony showing a smaller Nanitic worker Ant compared to a larger normal sized worker Ant.