Drama indeed! Tetra 2's death was a definite downer, especially because the night before had absolutely been the high point of my antkeeping so far!
BANDWIDTH ALERT GRATUITIOUS IMAGE DUMP AHEAD
The Prenos just were not cooperating with my attempts to move them into the mini hearth, and upon observing I began to suspect that the "scouting" I was watching them do toward the duct-taped (and obscured) end of the test tube hanging off the side of the hearth, was actually about collecting cotton to block the hole from the tubing leading into the main chamber. And I was correct. They definitely weren't going to move anytime soon, and I couldn't handle the anxiety of having them so precariously positioned.
So, I spent all the night before planning out a shake-n-dump. (Based on their high reactivity to my bright flashlight, I actually had all these elaborate plans for putting rings of talc inside the tube and gently coaxing them out under their own willpower, but that's all irrelevant, it didn't work, at the end it was a pure full-force but controlled shake out ). Fortunately it went very well. I'd laid out a nice thick mat of unrolled cotton ball in the bifurcated hearth's outworld, and they all had a completely soft landing, especially the queen.
And that's where our little saga begins.
After a minute or two of general run-around-and-freak-out, most of the group ended up clustered around the queen hanging off the front wall of the outworld:
Most. There was one loner lady who'd ended up in the upper left corner and went full frozen-rabbit there for the duration.
And despite all the drama and panic, I'd watched as one tankard lady hit the deck right next to the sugar feeder and immediately dove into a feeding vestibule, where she was shortly joined by a second hungry sister. Their happily waving little bums stayed that way to the end:
Shortly afterward I noticed the two oldest girls (who'd already grown out of their corpulent duty) were beginning to scout properly, and before long one found the hole leading into the bifurcated top chamber. I was so excited! These ladies have been so lethargic and uncooperative, I was reeeeeally skeptical that they'd do anything but sit there like lumps and spend the rest of their lives in the outworld, but no, it was really gonna happen! The whole anty operation, IRL!!!
And so it did.
The first eldest sister ran up to mom and started spreading the good word. And where this particular girl is concerned, there's no communication like BITE THAT BUM communication, and she is a master practitioner
Mom was first with The Good Bum News:
I didn't get the glorious moment on camera, but I got to watch her run all the way in, with just a bit more coaxing. It was wonderful
Here's the second eldest sister following right behind her, half a second after she disappeared into the hole:
For a hot second, it looked like the whole group was going to behave! One sister ran into the pack to start vibrating around and get things moving, and a conga line quickly started heading toward the hole, following the queen's trail:
But after half a dozen or so went down, we entered the "general milling about" phase of operations again:
So big sister 1 shouted "IT'S DRAGGIN' SEASON GIRLS!" and The Great Bossy Reign of Terror began:
With the first victim on the ground down the hole in a flash, big sister 2 got to work up in the cluster and started draggin' heads
"hi ho hi ho its off to WORKWORKWROK"
Right around this point (watching another little sister disappear neck-first down the hole) I think the rest of the group finally started to understand there was not gonna be anymore messing around :
"o [censored] guys this is serious," they whispered to each other. "are we in trouble?"
Now, I'll give you one guess which big sis this was, and there's no polite way to say it so I'll just get right down to it—in response, Big Sister 1 shouted, "I'm GONNA BOING DAT [censored] IF YOU DON'T GET MOVING."
And lo, she did boingeth dat [censored]
And it was good.
"YA'LL KNOW WHAT'S COMIN IF YOU DON'T GET MOVIN. BOING BOING "
And finally the last stragglers started behaving:
Though the very last, of course, had to be dragged neck-first:
After running back out and sprinting around to check where everybody was supposed
to be and confirm nobody was left, the two eldest sisters looked at each other, shouted "JOB WELL DONE", then said "WORKWORKWROK" and dragged themselves
down the hole to end the family's journey
"Job well dooooooone" echoed behind them into the outworld.
The totally empty outworld, mom. We for sure got everyone. EVERYBODY'S HERE! HOORAY!
By the time I checked on those two, they had both gorged so much after stuffing themselves into the same vestibule that they literally couldn't get out. One was wedged in half trying to turn around and stuck on her own fat bum hahaha. So I shook them out and they commiserated while trying to figure out hey where'd everybody go???
Eventually the loner lady in the corner started to realize it had gotten real quiet, but she must've already tagged the feeder's location because she ran right there and found the two gorger girls, and they setup camp on the feeder as a trio. I moved it so it was sitting right over the nest hole, and that's where they spent the entire night, feeling abandoned and dumb and lonely
But by noon yesterday one girl had been found or crawled her way down, and by dinnertime they all had.
I took a peek inside and they'd moved down from the top bifurcated level to assume the classic mini hearth nesting location, right over the water tower.
The sight of all those fat little bums hanging easily from the grout ceiling instead of falling all over a glass tube warms my heart, and the sight of a completely sealed formicarium with no broken bits and no janky taped up gaps soothes my blood pressure and calms my insanity lol.
So after all that, I'm going to wait a day or two to update about the tetra situation, and just bask in the glow of snow ant bliss. I hope they live a long and happy life in there
Edited by m99, September 14 2021 - 4:05 PM.