Took some macro photos and did some observations. Why do I always do this late at night when there is insufficient light? I don't know.
Someone said I don't have majors yet because of lack of insect protein. So I fed them two cut open fly pupae.
Then I refilled their nestmate with water and got a huge crowd of ants. I guess I haven't watered them well in over a week. So as as experiment I put a few drops of water on their feeding dish, and BOOM! massive crowds of ants. Guess they were thirsty....
Their dish (from a supplement bottle lid) is swarming with thirsty and hungry ants.
All of the below photos are 90 degrees off from how I took them. But they still show the relevant stuff.
Second photo: phat loot
In Dr. Eleanor's Book of Common Ants of California, the author writes that Veromessor are the '"Scrooge McDucks" of the desert, tycoons of Ant-town, with their own money bins stockpiled with riches....'
Here's one of the seed vaults, piled high like a dragon's treasure room:
Third photo: young
This is the older brood chamber. In this (sideways) photo is a callow looking a lot like a creepy mummy ready to come to life. Yes, her mom's butt is in the photo, too.
I watched today as the callows made their first movements, appearing to run their start-up protocols for getting their bodies properly wired up, revved up, and ready to get to work - legs twitching in a walking rhythm, just like I observed a dying Camponotus do. One young callow was quite clumsy and landed sideways, almost on her back, and lay there looking either like she was flailing around or trying to preen her antennae or something. Ah, toddlers.
Fourth photo: Young larvae and an ant trying to chew up a seed
This is the younger brood chamber, where smaller larvae are tended. The ant on the seed is working hard to cut off a piece. I have footage of her digging her mandibles into the surface of the seed, and then rocking her body sideways back and forth. Sort of like how you might put a spade into hard dirt and rock it back and forth to try to get a chunk of dirt out. She didn't try to chew a piece out; she leveraged her whole body to try to gouge out a piece.
Black shadowy smudges in the photo may be out of focus ants in the foreground, climbing on the glass.
Edited by OhNoNotAgain, June 13 2020 - 9:05 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.