2020.4.1 through 2020.4.7
During pandemic lockdown, I actually have had LESS time than before. So updates are kind of sporadic and the ants are a bit neglected. However, I finally have enough time to do an update (yay kiddie Spring Break).
Vero2 (Derpymessor) update: Queen and last surviving workers still in mini-hearth. One worker absolutely refuses to stay near the queen - generally about 2-3 cm away. The other stays about a centimeter away. They are just hanging out, not doing anything. I put in occasional fly pieces and I don't think anything happens. No brood.
I can imagine someone out there is wondering why I didn't just give Vero1 a new test tube. (Actually in a previous update I said I was trying that.) I've been having problems with my test tubes. Also I have a new unused THA Fallen Fortress. And take a look at the first photo. Basically it turns out Veromessor chew cotton up. See these stringy bits? I didn't know what it was at first, but it turns out they've begun turning cotton into bits of cotton thread and dumping it in their trash. The other colony, Vero2/Derpymessor, expended a ton of energy chewing cotton and I didn't want to see Vero1 go down the same route.
Anyway on April 1st, I gave up on the idea of a new test tube (on Discord, test tube fan JenC was not happy with me). I attached a tube to the Fallen Fortress and used cotton and tape to attach it to the test tube. I put a camping lantern near the test tube. I put the seedling heating mat under the Fallen Fortress. Then I sat back to watch the show.
But it wasn't much of a show.
Unlike C. fragilis, which moves at the speed of energy drink buzz with a heaping side of anxiety, Veromessor pergandei move at their own very slow relaxed pace. Yes, a few workers soon were exploring the outworld of the FF, but ... that was it. I took some time lapse videos. I gave them fruit flies, which they eventually caught. I gave them some poppy seeds in the new outworld, which they piled into a neat little pile. But that was it. Some hours later on Discord I was like, "I think the workers discovered the nest!" But not really. They kept walking up to the nest entrance, sniffing around, then leaving.
The lantern ran out of batteries. The time lapse videos showed only ants wandering around the outworld.
I moved the set up next to C. fragilis' Fortress and decided to just check on them periodically to see how they were doing.
The next day one or two workers had finally discovered the nest.
That was all. Back in the test tube, things went on as usual. They did have to clean up a mess I accidentally made when I moved the FF, where a bunch of seed and brood fell into the long connector tube. That took a couple days.
A few workers discovered the FF nest area.
A day or two later a couple poppy seeds appeared in the FF nest area.
Finally, today, almost a full week after I set them up for their move, I checked on them and the test tube was almost empty! The nest of the FF now contained the queen, the nursery ants, the brood, their seed stores. I was bummed I'd missed their big move, but I do think it's cool they finally did it!
Picture of the cotton bits:
I had no idea what it was at first until I saw the ants pulling cotton and chewing it up.
This is the rough set up so you can see the test tube and the connection tube to the Fallen Fortress:
For any newbies, since the test tube is bigger than the connection tube, some clean cotton fills the gap between tubes, and then tape holds it together. I don't completely seal with tape as it's probably better to allow gas exchange through the cotton.
I put them next to the C. fragilis Fortress since it was clear nothing would happen very quickly. The tube highway actually goes over the fraggles' Fortress.
You can see the mess in the connecting tube where apparently I'd accidentally caused seeds and brood to fall in. It took them a looong time to clean up. They are so much slower about things than C. fragilis or Tetramorium.
Today I checked and ... what? Tube is finally (almost) empty?! It only took 6 days....
There are still some holdout ants hanging out in the tube, of course. You can also see how they were digging into the cotton.
Queen and brood in the nest of the Fallen Fortress at long last:
I like how they put the seed in a different "room" than the brood.
I don't like the condensation ... I may adjust the placement on the seedling mat and see what happens.
Edited by OhNoNotAgain, April 7 2020 - 12:47 PM.
Veromessor pergandei, andrei; Novomessor cockerelli
Camponotus fragilis; also separate journal: Camponotus sansabeanus, vicinus, quercicola
Liometopum occidentale; Prenolepis imparis; Myrmecocystus mexicanus
Pogonomyrmex subnitidus and previously californicus
Termites: Zootermopsis angusticollis
Isopods: A. gestroi, granulatum, kluugi, maculatum, vulgare; C. murina; P. hoffmannseggi, P. haasi, P. ornatus; V. parvus
Spoods: Phidippus sp.