Hey everyone! I know I haven't been posting here for a while, but I just wanted to give a quick update on where I've been and what I've been up to. For those who know me well, I tend to separate myself from the community periodically due to wide number of reasons. Sometimes it's simply because I want to go back to enjoying the hobby without interacting with the community directly the way I once did when I first began keeping ants and other times it's because my life has gotten to hectic / chaotic to keep up. In this case, it's been a mixture of both.
- first off, I met someone! Her name is Avery and we've been dating for about five and a half months now!!! I've never been much of a social butterfly and I've always had a hard time getting out there and meeting people, but we met online (don't worry, I did everything in my power to make sure I wasn't being catfished lol) and for the first time in my life I feel like I've found someone who truly gets me. Early on, when the topic of our mutual love of exotic pets came up I was originally terrified to bring up my ant colonies given how I've been rejected dozens of times due to my passion for entomology. Not only was so extremely supportive, but she actually is FASCINATED by them. Turns out she used to study forensic entomology, who knew? she helps me ID them, helps me with my research and even helps me take care of them! We're actually rearing a 300 strong T. immagrans colony together right now and she absolutely loves them. I swear, whenever I have her over she almost makes a B-line for my room in order to check up on them and see how they're all doing lol. I couldn't be happier, I just wish I got to see her more often. I'm not gonna go into too much detail, but she lives a considerable distance away, neither of us have cars and her family doesn't like me very much out of there own racial prejudices. As long as were there for one another though, I'm sure we'll be fine.
- For those who are aware, I'm aiding a professor over at Harvard University in collecting ant species for a state wide census, which is appearantly the first of its kind. Over the passed three months, I've bagged about 48 different species from across the state including a species of Stenamma that I have never seen in the wild. I have also been hard at work conducting my own research for a paper I hope to publish within the next year or so detailing the behavior, biology and nest architecture of an under-studied species that lives here in New England. I've been working on this project for two years now and I can't wait to have it released. That is all I can say for now unfortunately, but so far things have been going fairly well with several new discoveries related to their reproductive habits, diet and nest structure.
- I'm still keeping ants and although this year had many ups and downs (a low turnout of queens, unexpected worker mortality in mature colonies, etc.) I am happy to say that I have grown some pretty good-sized colonies. the largest of these colonies is a 1,000 strong Tetramorium immagrans colony that I've been working on for about a two years now. I also have two 800-900 strong Tetramorium colonies, a 200 strong Tetramorium colony that I am raising with my girl friend, a 300 strong Aphaenogaster picea colony, A small Crematogaster cerasi colony, a 70 strong Solenopsis molesta colony, Some wild caught Monomorium emarginatum colonies (one with 2,000 workers and the other with 200 or so), A small Camponotus chromaiodes colony, a 25 strong Formica subsericea coloniy, four small R. flavipes termite colonies and a handful of Lasius neoniger queens I caught in September. phew, that's a mouthful lol.
- Aside from that college and family drama among other things have made it a bit difficult to find the time to post. Hopefully things will calm down soon.