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m99's: T. immigrans — P. imparis — A. picea

tetramorium journal immigrans prenolepis imparis picea aphaenogaster

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#21 Offline m99 - Posted August 18 2021 - 9:32 AM

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Yeeeeah she's been disturbed so much that I'm holding out hope that was why, but it looks increasingly likely she just wasn't fertilized. If she hasn't changed state the next time I check on her I'll probably let her go.



#22 Offline m99 - Posted August 18 2021 - 7:07 PM

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Outworld escapades are ramping up! The girls in Tube 1 have for sure claimed the whole space as their own now, and I finally caught them doing some proper full-out foraging this afternoon!

 

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I swapped out their food dishes for some nano test tube feeders from Por Amor which are the CUTEST [censored] THING IN THE UNIVERSE holy cow. I literally giggled filling up the picnic baskets with syrup and peanut butter.

 

(the flat tube feeder with the flies was for my snow ants, who will probably be replacing the camponotus queen in this journal soon :( )

 

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They definitely had a good look at everything while I was out this evening, and even hauled a huge (for them) seed all the way back into their tube, the first time they've had something non-fruit-fly in their larder!

 

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Looks like the buffet can commence hooray *edit* later tonight I can say it definitely has for the tube 1 crew, they've had foragers out in the picnic basket multiple times. Tube 2 is weirdly timid in comparison. They're not that far behind numbers wise now, but I'm still not 100% sure they've even been in their outworld yet.

Edited by m99, August 18 2021 - 9:41 PM.

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#23 Offline m99 - Posted August 19 2021 - 10:10 AM

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AHHHH escape! So brokenhearted, thank god I found her in time. I think she might've been the oldest too, my favorite.

 

Luckily she was just sitting on the ventilated roof of the tube portal outworld being like wtf :( :( :( so I was able to dump her back in and apply a talc barrier around the rim. Thought I could get away without one with this lid, but obviously not woops.

 

I sure hope there weren't more escapees :( It's hard to tell what's going on in the tube. Given her behavior I have to imagine anybody who joined her would've been right there, waiting, but now I'll never know for sure.

 

Sigh, lesson learned.

 

*edit* lol very eventful day for all the girls. I came to discover I'd accidentally dropped talc onto their route back into the tube from the portal outworld, and after a few minutes of watching them adorably fall tail-over-head I realized I'd have to save them and carefully performed a surgical qtip cleanup with them calmly munching a seed a few millimeters away (they refused to move any further than that xD )


Edited by m99, August 19 2021 - 12:54 PM.


#24 Offline m99 - Posted August 19 2021 - 12:53 PM

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Checking on the carpenter queen today, for the first time she was exhibiting something like genuine claustral behavior. She'd retreated to the inner chamber and was over the water and sand pile and almost looked to be cleaning her rear end before I disturbed her. And her energy seemed calmer. I might keep her for a week or two longer just to see, before declaring her officially unmated—she's doomed even if I let her free for one last romp among the natural trails, so I guess there's not a ticking clock or anything.

 

Meanwhile, I'm officially adding my winter ants to the journal because they seem to have solidly settled in after The Great Tube Busting of 2021 and have some MEGA fatties in house today after I fed them with the flies and syrup yesterday.

 

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So I think they'll be alright. I'm really hoping to receive the THA bifurcated mini hearth I ordered sometime in the next week or two, and then I'm going to make a real concerted effort to get them to move into either it or a smaller etsy formicarium by the end of September.

 

And finally, meet my little A. picea lady in her official debut to the journal, after literally running up to me at the cat bowl in the middle of the day a couple weeks ago. She's about 10-12 days into claustral bliss now, and has some juicy eggs ready to start turning into larva, looks like. I'm really excited to see what she can get done before hibernation!

 

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*edit* I'll also add her capture ID pictures from earlier, for posterity:
 
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Edited by m99, August 19 2021 - 1:05 PM.

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#25 Offline m99 - Posted August 22 2021 - 11:14 AM

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Gather round for a story about tube one's first full feeding response, in which they dived all over four fruit flies I threw in, and were dragging the booty inside within seconds for the first time.

 

It went...

 

Well, it went just the way you'd expect when a bunch of toddler sisters are tasked with bringing dinner home  :lol:

 

The two oldest girls had dragged the first fruit fly in so quickly they were already arguing about how to position it in the larder by the time I got back to the shelf with my phone.

 

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"boy they're being awfully dramatic about that," I thought to myself with a chuckle. 

 

Let's see how the two younger girls are getting along in the outworld, surely they're already in the tube with the next fly!

 

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... right.

 

Luckily they remember they're supposed to bring the flies with them and go back. 

 

... but not to the same fly. "GET BACK OVER HERE" says the one in the front, before falling head over [censored].

 

"I'M COMING!" says the one in the back, before literally tripping over her own feet and faceplanting into the floor

 

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Then they got right back to work busily forgetting what they were supposed to do. "Back here????" says one
 
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"IS THIS WHAT WORKING HARD LOOKS LIKE????"
 
"I HOPE SO!" they say to each other for a while:
 
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The INSTANT they hear big sis footsteps in the hallway it's "OMG WORK WORK"
 
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"You're STILL out here????"
 
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"OH HI SIS WORKWORKWROK YOU KNOW HOW IT IS"
 
"THIS STUFF IS SO HEAVY WE CAN BARELY MOVE IT!!! Right? I mean right??? I mean—"
 
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"WHOAH slow down this is my jo-aHHHHHHHGH!"

 

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"Okay okay okay I GET IT already!"
 
...
 
"This way, right?"
 
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"oh. em. gee."
 
"I'M TELLING MOM YOU CURSED"
 
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"shut up back there BETHANY."
 
"butterfeet."
 
" :( "
 
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"Fine I don't need you guys, I can get this all by myself."
 
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But it really wasn't Bethany's fault, because five minutes later fly number four was still, uh ... in progress:
 
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Productive day  :D

Edited by m99, August 22 2021 - 11:30 AM.

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#26 Offline That_one_ant_guy - Posted August 22 2021 - 11:28 AM

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Lol 😆
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#27 Offline m99 - Posted August 22 2021 - 10:09 PM

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holy cow these girls are gonna take years off my life this hobby might kill me my heart is too old for this lmao

 

~~After Dark: Ant Rescue Edition~~

 

So I go to checkup on the pavement ladies before bed and spot something weird. I'd noticed a girl on the maple syrup feeder earlier tonight in a weird posture, sort of hanging off a droplet halfway up the side (that I didn't even remember being there) while one of her sisters watched from down below, but I figured she was just being acrobatic. But just now I discovered she'd actually been stuck! She'd got a glob stuck to her gaster and was trailing it around. That brave girl had made it off the picnic basket and halfway across the floor before getting stuck solid, and she was planted there like a little flower pot for who knows how many hours before I found her.

 

I quickly wet a qtip and picked her up (out of focus, but you can see the blob on her butt):

 

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With a second qtip I put a big droplet of water on the floor and put her inside (I don't know how I managed to get pictures during this, I was panicking the whole time):

 

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The blob came loose and dissolved nearly immediately, and she started moving her legs, which was a huge relief. But she couldn't get out of the dang droplet, and it took four times of picking her up with the qtip and flicking her off before she managed to NOT land in another newly created droplet  :blush:  %)  :lol:  oh my heart. heart attack. (looking back I should've just dabbed the qtip as dry as I could while she was still on it, broken off the very tip, and set it in the outworld)
 
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I was so sure she'd be all broken limbs and busted gaster, but ... it seems like she's okay? 
 
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I've looked over that footage very closely IRL and can't see any signs of body damage (assuming that sharp downward angle on the gaster wasn't damage ... I think it was just posture). She was moving a little herky-jerky but that's probably to be expected. 
 
I was watching her carefully to make sure she made it back to the nest, because she was distinctly lost since I'd cleaned out the outworld entirely during the process in order to get rid of the danger. Unfortunately I think she found the nest hole and dashed back home while was dashing to the sink because I missed it, but when I got back the tube was definitely in a reunion type of mood (I'm pretty sure she's one of the two girls right in front of mama's head here:)
 
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Sheesh.
 
SH.EE.SH.
 
I can only imagine what this hobby's going to be like once the colonies have more than 15 ants!  :o

Edited by m99, August 22 2021 - 10:16 PM.

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#28 Offline m99 - Posted August 24 2021 - 5:48 PM

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Big day on the ant shelf, but for now I want to focus on the winter ladies, who I'm trying to get moved into a newly arrived bifurcated mini hearth.

 

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It's going ... I don't want to talk about how it's going lmao. It's giving me major anxiety and I wish I hadn't broken the end off that damn tube so hard right now. This would all be so much easier and more secure if I could actually connect their tube to something properly. Sigh.

 

But at least it's providing all sorts of great time to stare at the girls in the wide open since I've got them in bright light, and that means plenty of neato pictures.

 

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#29 Offline AntBoi3030 - Posted August 24 2021 - 6:16 PM

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This is my summer reading. Your writing a novel!
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My favorite queens/colony’s:
Pheidole Tysoni, Selonopis Molesta, Brachymyrmex Depilis, Tetramorium Immagrians, Prenolepis Imparis, Pheidole Bicirinata 


#30 Offline m99 - Posted August 24 2021 - 6:54 PM

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This is my summer reading. Your writing a novel!

 

lucky I have so much work I was supposed to get done the last few months and did this instead  :lol:


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#31 Offline m99 - Posted August 27 2021 - 9:44 AM

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Welp. Big update on the Prenos moving house later tonight, but unfortunately my second tetra queen has died. :*( Really bummed about it, though her colony didn't feature in this journal much because the first queen's was always a little ahead of her. But they'd started to catch up the last week or so, and I'd begun thinking they might even overtake colony 1 in total numbers soon. Looks like that'll never happen.

 

No idea why, but I realize now that the "big piece of catfood" I thought I saw them moving around in the outworld early this morning before I went to bed, was actually the queen's body, so whatever caused it happened yesterday, or was lingering for a while waiting to send her over the anty rainbow. Sigh.

 

RIP little side patio queen. Now it's just me and the deck girls, who were recently hooked up to an expansion for additional foraging that I'll show later tonight. Long live deck girls. Because if they die I have no more pavement ladies, and they were my first ever colony  :(


Edited by m99, August 27 2021 - 9:47 AM.

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#32 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 27 2021 - 11:46 AM

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Random queen deaths are pretty common for Tetramorium for some reason.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#33 Offline smares - Posted August 27 2021 - 9:34 PM

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Colony life is full of drama! Sorry your queen died, it happens sometimes.
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#34 Offline m99 - Posted August 27 2021 - 10:59 PM

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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!

 

:excl: BANDWIDTH ALERT GRATUITIOUS IMAGE DUMP AHEAD :excl:

 

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  :whistle: ). 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:

 

1
2
Spoiler

 

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:

 

Spoiler
 
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!!!  :yahoo:
 
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:
 
Spoiler
Spoiler
 
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  :yes:
 
Here's the second eldest sister following right behind her, half a second after she disappeared into the hole:
 
Spoiler

 

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:

 

Spoiler
Spoiler

 

But after half a dozen or so went down, we entered the "general milling about" phase of operations again:

 

Spoiler
 
So big sister 1 shouted "IT'S DRAGGIN' SEASON GIRLS!" and The Great Bossy Reign of Terror began:
 
Spoiler
 
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
 
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler

 

"hi ho hi ho its off to WORKWORKWROK"

 

Spoiler
Spoiler
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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 : 
 
Spoiler
Spoiler

 

"o [censored] guys this is serious," they whispered to each other. "are we in trouble?"

 

Spoiler

 

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]  O:) :
 
Spoiler

 

And it was good.

 

Spoiler
Spoiler
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"YA'LL KNOW WHAT'S COMIN IF YOU DON'T GET MOVIN. BOING BOING  3:) "

 

Spoiler
 
And finally the last stragglers started behaving:
 
Spoiler
 
Though the very last, of course, had to be dragged neck-first:
 
Spoiler

 

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 :lol: :
 
Spoiler

 

"Job well dooooooone" echoed behind them into the outworld.
 
The totally empty outworld, mom. We for sure got everyone. EVERYBODY'S HERE! HOORAY!
 
Most definitely.
 
4

 

lmao.
 
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???
 
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler

 

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  :*(
 
39

 

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.

 

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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.

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#35 Offline m99 - Posted September 2 2021 - 9:08 PM

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Pics of their full current setup the next time I give them a full feeding and cleanout, but the original tetra queen is definitely doing her job! Took my first close peek in a while tonight real quick, and looked to be a brood pile nearly as big as she is woohoo. I couldn't see how much of it was at which stage of development for even a rough estimate, but I have to assume it's gonna be enough to at least double their initial dozen nanitics batch, that'll be exciting.

 

Meanwhile the snow girls seem to be comfortable (other than a brief bit of flooding when I refilled the mini hearth tower woooops) but I don't believe they've done any foraging yet. But now that I've confirmed they're literally 95% corpulents at the moment, I won't worry about their intake. My bloodworms arrived and I mixed together my first batch, so maybe that'll lure some of their scouts out. Especially now that I woke the whole crew up with wet feet lol.


Edited by m99, September 2 2021 - 9:10 PM.

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#36 Offline m99 - Posted September 14 2021 - 12:28 PM

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I really hoped I'd be able to make a moving tubes post by now, but looks like they're gonna stay put, and I don't want to stress them with light anymore than necessary while they've still got brood. 

 

So, for now this is an update about adding a spare tube to their setup, and the first callows of the second nanitics generation  :yahoo:

 

I've shifted the red film and cardboard shade from their current tube to the new tube (so you can't actually see it here) and spent a day with the closet door open, but they wouldn't do anything but move the brood closer to the cotton.

 

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Though some of the girls were smart enough to try and do some scouting during the initial wave of panic, they never got much more coordinated than this:
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler

 

So I let them be, because they had a couple pupae about to eclose and we should have about a dozen on the way over the next week or so. I'm hoping as they grow they'll get braver and more ready to move, before their tube gets too much grosser.

Spoiler
Spoiler
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By the next day two new callows were running around, my first time seeing the tetra callows before they'd darkened! So cute!

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You can see one of the callow girls hiding under the cotton on the right here:
Spoiler

 


Edited by m99, September 14 2021 - 4:02 PM.

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#37 Offline m99 - Posted September 14 2021 - 12:54 PM

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Meanwhile the A. picea lady is living up to their reputation of slow starts. About a week ago it looked like she only had one or two larvae headed toward the final stages of development, so I'm worried they won't be able to eclose by Halloween, when colonies around here will most certainly have reoriented completely for diapause. I'm hoping keeping her heated will stop that from being a problem. It's a bummer that I'll probably have to put the colony into hibernation as soon as all the nanitics are finished arriving though, I'd hoped to be able to enjoy watching them a bit since they're so much bigger than the tetras. Ah well.

 

Crappy pictures because I try to keep her out for under a minute to avoid too much stress.

 

Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler

Edited by m99, September 14 2021 - 4:00 PM.

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#38 Offline ANTdrew - Posted September 14 2021 - 3:44 PM

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My phone almost dies every time I open this thread.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25  

Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.


#39 Offline m99 - Posted September 14 2021 - 3:50 PM

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Once my desktop does too I'll learn my lesson

 

*edit* aha the solution

Spoiler

 

Ah dang you have to do it individually for each image or it only hides one. I'll use it for GIFs at least 


Edited by m99, September 14 2021 - 4:01 PM.

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#40 Offline m99 - Posted September 19 2021 - 3:05 PM

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The tetra baby boom has officially begun  :yahoo: With the first post-claustral nanitics a few days ago and now these new eclosures, I believe they're up to 20-25, which means they've already doubled their family size from the founding girls, and the brood pile hasn't even shrunk  :blink: if anything it's growing hahah yaaay. Hopefully they'll start moving out of their tube soon, they're definitely calming down and becoming less reactive to the light as they grow in numbers. They've got 24/7 access to a sunburst feeder and always have a pile of protein, so they're free to grow as quickly as they like and mama looks ready to start calling my bluff lol.

 

Meanwhile I peeked into the picea queen's box a couple days ago and her brood pile had suddenly grown big enough that I could see it even from there, which can only mean pupae partaaaay, so nanitics are imminent! I'm excited to have such big girls running around soon. Given her timing up to now, I'm hoping to see them by the end of next week.


Edited by m99, September 19 2021 - 3:08 PM.

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