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Atta Cephalotes

Nearing the end….

After comming back from my weeks holiday i was looking forward to seeing the progression of the fungus, but sadly it had shrunk I also have lost quite a few ants and the ones that i do have seem very lethargic and just standing about. They are still cutting leaves however and today i took a photo through the glass arena and the plastic bottle top that house the fungus in so sorry for the quality. A nice suprise though to see loads of small larvae on the fungus I wonder if this is the reason for the shrinkage ? if so the ants are going to have to work harder……..

They are dumping the leaves next to the fungus and the minute ones are messing with them but not taking them further. I suppose they must be just taking particles as there are tiny specs of green on the fungus. I put a nastursham flower in and there were little specs of orange on the fungus but you really had to look close. Yesterday i changed the lay out, i raised the ceramic tile the fungus is on higher by 4 and took the rest out and replaced with hyrolica, which are small clay balls used in horticulture to keep up humidity and added more water. The RH was already + 91 so i probably havent gained anything from doing this. Now i can’t see through the glass because of the condensation GRRRRRrrrrrrr…..

Shortly after this the ants began to die very quickly, i can only imagine that i had given them something which contained pesticides :(

Categories
Messor barbarus

More room needed

Yesterday the ants emptied the test tube of all the dandelion seeds and directly placed them outside but next to the tube, for two reasons perhaps
1: There is simply no room left inside ? or
2: The seeds are no longer viable because of their small size perhaps ?

I think its probable because of the lack of room as my second colony still keeps their’s.

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So i have given them another test tube next to this one so perhaps they may move into this or use it as a store for the seeds they have moved. The water in the original test tube has now about gone. There are about 3 -4 of the majors but i think there is bigger to come

No idea how many ther are now in the colony but at a guess maybe 100

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Well it has only taken them a couple of days to move their store to the new test tube but they have only moved the millet and have left the dandelion seeds where they were outside. Just incase anyone is wondering, i have 1/2 a toilet roll covering it all.

Categories
Camponotus sp

Thriving

A large solitary larvae, most have been taken into the green aquatic tube that i have exiting the nest. Unfortunatly i can’t see whats happening in there, you can also just see a cocoon in the exit hole below.

The nest is a verticle y-tong with 3 chambers on the bottom and 3 at the top. It sits in a flower pot tray for water but the ants prefer to live at the top where it is drier and rarely venture to the bottom, surprising as they are from Taiwan where it is humid. What little information i can find about these is that they like humidity between 50 – 70 RH. I’m keeping them pretty cool too at about 20 – 23c . The nest is connected to a small plastic tub and only very rarely have i seen the odd ant come out to take honey and sugar water and the occassional fruit fly. The colony does seem to have grown slightly so i can only assume that the cocoons have hatched.

I noticed a couple of newly hatched ants today which are slightly lighter in colour. One is at the top and one on the right. I’m hoping that if the numbers build up they may start to make more of an appearance in the arena. You can also see the different sizes of workers and soldiers.

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Ive now changed the old arena with a new clear platic arena and the ants have been out foraging during the day, i was beginning to wonder if these were nocturnal as i had rarely seen them. The most i have seen out is only 3 small workers and never seen the larger soldiers come out, they only seem to guard inside the nest.
They have a choice of honey water and sugar water but much prefer the honey, i will probably take the sugar out. I havent seen them carry any food, ie flies or cockroaches, back to the nest but they do spend some time nibbling at the carcasses. They also seemed to enjoy cooked chicken.
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Another shot from inside the nest shows younger ants being nurse maids.
Categories
Polyrhachis dives

They love heat

A group feeding on a house fly

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I put a small 7w heatmat on the side of the arena by the nest and they quickly moved their brood to the warmth. The glass gets quite hot but they seem to enjoy it.

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Finally spotted the queen.

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A great food resource for these ants are fruit flies, i put in a a few hundred a week that have been frozen. Live fruit flies seem to be ignored but once they are dead they are readilly accepted. Its great fun watching them eagerly carrying them to the nest.

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Another strange pass time is for them is to carry their dead around the arena. They spend alot of time doing this so perhaps they are looking for a suitable place to deposit them, or maybe just more room is needed ?

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