Ants: Day 7

(I skipped a day!)

The second ant to perish is now in pieces as well. I witnessed an ant or two carrying around the body parts; an ant head was even on top of a gel pile, near the lid of the habitat.

AntsDay7A

The tunnels are getting more intricate; there’s even a right-angle tunnel!

AntsDay7B

Ant Cam:

Ants: Day 5

Another fallen soldier (well, harvester). It appears another ant has died, this time at the very bottom corner, in a tunnel. The body is still intact, though the other ants appear to be trying to move it; some are just walking over the body.

AntsDay5A

Besides that, all is well in Antville. The tunnels are progressing, and more work on the second one has been done. The tunnel system is getting quite intricate, with tunnels connecting to other tunnels. There are even little ‘tunnels’ through the gel bits on top. Though I haven’t actually observed it, I assume the ants are feeding on those gel bits, since the amount of them is seemingly the same, despite the advances in the tunneling.

AntsDay5B

AntsDay5C

Ant Cam:

I tried some new, fancy video techniques, so pardon any partially out of focus moments.

Ants: Day 3

It’s been about 48 hours since introducing the ants into their habitat. The tunnels are growing, and the gel clumps are too. The second tunnel has looped back up to the top, and the first tunnel now goes to the left, reaching the top and bottom of the gel.

AntsDay3A

I’m sad to report that last night I observed what I thought was a dead ant. This morning, my suspicion was confirmed. Interestingly, the other ants seemed to have ripped apart the dead body, leaving the head and body and legs laying everywhere.

AntsDay3B

R.I.P. little ant

AntsDay3C

Ant Cam:

Ants: Day 2

It took the ants only about 5 hours to begin their tunneling. They started using one of the holes I had provided, and it looks like they were putting little gel clumps all over the top, wherever they pleased. At any given time, it appeared that only about 3 ants were working on the tunnel; the others were still interested in climbing the walls or milling around.

AntDay2A

After a good night’s sleep (for me at least), I woke up to find the tunnel had grown slightly. The ants had made contact with the habitat wall and seemed to be working upwards. The gel clumps were being placed along the edges of the habitat. I have no idea how they got them up the sides of the wall…

AntsDay2C

Hello ants!

About 24 hours after the ants had been placed in the habitat, they had widened the tunnel, and reached the surface, creating another entrance. There are a lot more gel clumps! It also looks like they have begun a second tunnel, also using one of the holes I had provided. More ants seem to be working, though many are still climbing around and ‘resting’.

AntsDay2B

Ant Cam:

The Ants Came Marching

The ants have arrived! All 36 of them came alive and active. If you’ve ever wondered how ants are shipped, wonder no more: they are bottled up in a little tube and delivered right to your postbox!

Ants1

Before introducing the ants to their new habitat, as suggested I poked 4 holes into the gel; this helps the ants figure out what to do with the gel.

And in they went!

Ants2

Since the gel is naturally foreign to the ants, it could take up to 48 hours for them to get comfortable and start doing anything really cool.

Ants3

They currently seem less interested in the gel, and more interested in climbing the habitat walls, and what appears to be grooming each other. Though it looks like a few might be nibbling at the gel.

Ants4

Up close the ants are actually pretty cute!

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Ants5

And of course, the Ant Cam:

Music provided by Johnny Dennis, ha.

Stay tuned as these ants begin their exploration!

Ants7

 

 

Creature Corner, Vol. 4

Rosy Maple Moth

Moth

Scientifically named Dryocampa rubicunda, these adorably unreal moths are characterized by their distinct pink and yellow colours. While the vibrance of colours can vary, some of these moths can also be very pale, even completely white.

These cuties are found in south-east Canada, including Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario, as well as in Minnesota and down the east coast of the U.S. to Florida. They can even be spotted as far west as Michigan, Indiana, Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Moth Collage

Maple trees are where these moths call home, specifically Red Maples, Silver Maples, and Sugar Maples. Females are able to  lay eggs up to 3 times per season, about 150-200 eggs. Groups of 20-30 pale yellow eggs are laid on the underside of maple leaves, and hatch in about 2 weeks. For the first few stages of development the larvae live and eat the maple leaves together, but they eventually become independent. The caterpillars, also known as green-striped mapleworms, grow to be about 55 mm (2.2 in.) in length and have green bodies with lateral lines and red heads. After about another 2 weeks, the caterpillars crawl down their host tree and pupate (make a cocoon) underground, which can last another week.

Caterpillar Collage

The tiny adult males have a wingspan of 32-44 mm (1.3-1.8 in.) and the females 40-50 mm (1.6-2 in.). These moths are nocturnal; the females emit pheromones at night to attract males, who have bushier antennae to detect these pheromones. Interestingly, the adult moths do not eat, only the larvae does. Their lifespan is typically up to 9 months.

Moth Collage2

Though the bright colours act as a warning sign to predators,they can still be attacked by birds such as bluejays. Since these moths don’t eat, they don’t affect the ecosystem as predators, and have no economic impact on the environment (though eating all the leaves from a tree can be seen as pesky).

Currently, these moths are not classified as threatened or endangered, which makes me happy because I cannot get enough of these cuties!