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Greenday's Atta mexicana journal -- discontinued 8/18/23

atta formicarium leafcutter nest

76 replies to this topic

#21 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 29 2023 - 3:45 AM

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Good luck! You could write about both in the same journal. Just use subheadings and different sections.
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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.

#22 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted January 29 2023 - 2:05 PM

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Good luck! You could write about both in the same journal. Just use subheadings and different sections.

Cool! Like one of those multi-species journals


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#23 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted February 6 2023 - 11:07 PM

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It's been a second, but the colony is still doing fine. When I turned the fungus over to position it better, they eventually started building more fungus on one side of the fallen piece and since the last update, the fungus tower is getting really wobbly again unfortunately. I'll probably just turn it over again like I did last time. 

 

No new workers yet, but I see multiple pupae and a bunch or larva still. I think the colony is also hiding a good portion of the brood, so I'm not exactly sure just how much there is exactly. They're one of the easiest ants I have right now actually, I just replace the rose in there about once a week, which is how long it takes them to process most of it. 

 

Tbh, the only real update for now is that there is a bunch of brood progress and hopefully I'll get new workers soon. 

 

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#24 Offline auntcindy - Posted February 8 2023 - 4:22 PM

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Wow, they look great!.  What material are you using in the nest? How are you hydrating it? Any idea what the humidity is?



#25 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted February 8 2023 - 5:07 PM

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Wow, they look great!.  What material are you using in the nest? How are you hydrating it? Any idea what the humidity is?

Ultracal 30. It's pretty hard for the ants to chew through. Below the Ultracal brick/layer is a water reservoir, which I refill periodically. The humidity is around 95% constantly, with just regular room temps


Edited by AntsAmerica, July 8 2023 - 8:11 AM.

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#26 Offline 86793o5 - Posted February 11 2023 - 5:35 PM

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please feed them something other than just rose petals, it might make their imprisonment more enjoyable for them



#27 Offline AntBoi3030 - Posted February 11 2023 - 6:49 PM

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please feed them something other than just rose petals, it might make their imprisonment more enjoyable for them


Are you joking? Imprisonment?

My favorite queens/colony’s:
Pheidole Tysoni, Selonopis Molesta, Brachymyrmex Depilis, Tetramorium Immagrians, Prenolepis Imparis, Pheidole Bicirinata 


#28 Offline Sebants - Posted February 11 2023 - 7:20 PM

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please feed them something other than just rose petals, it might make their imprisonment more enjoyable for them


Are you joking? Imprisonment?

 

Yes. Yes, he is joking. Chill.



#29 Offline AntBoi3030 - Posted February 11 2023 - 7:54 PM

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please feed them something other than just rose petals, it might make their imprisonment more enjoyable for them


Are you joking? Imprisonment?
Yes. Yes, he is joking. Chill.
I wasn’t trying to come of as angry I was just confused.

My favorite queens/colony’s:
Pheidole Tysoni, Selonopis Molesta, Brachymyrmex Depilis, Tetramorium Immagrians, Prenolepis Imparis, Pheidole Bicirinata 


#30 Offline ANTdrew - Posted February 12 2023 - 3:45 AM

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please feed them something other than just rose petals, it might make their imprisonment more enjoyable for them

This is NOT Discord.
4. No posting any spam messages, including posting of messages that add little to no value to the topic of conversation.
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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.

#31 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted February 26 2023 - 10:44 AM

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Been a while, but this colony is still doing well. They finally got a brood cycle after almost 2 months of having them, and although it's kinda hard to see they have a bunch of new workers now. Some are cutters and some are minims. 

Currently I'm alternating between roses and these yellow flowers they seem to like, and the fungus is kind of staying the same size for now. Hopefully with more workers they will be able to grow larger soon.

That's all for now...

 

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#32 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted March 15 2023 - 11:11 AM

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Been a couple weeks.

 

The colony is visibly bigger now and has a bunch of new minims and cutters, and the fungus is bigger than ever. 

They're also using more leaves and flowers than they used to which is cool.

 

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#33 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted April 8 2023 - 9:24 AM

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Some bad pictures of a recent feast. 

 

They're visibly bigger than the last update which is cool, but aside from that, not too much is going on. They're pretty much the easiest colony I have, just gotta make sure they have food to process at all times. 

 

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#34 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted April 28 2023 - 11:07 PM

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The exponential growth of this colony is starting to become noticeable. They've grown the fungus up to the lid 3 times now, and I've had to tip it over on its side every time. At this point, the fungus is probably around the size of a tennis ball or a little bit bigger.

 

They still like roses and trumpet flowers best, but are starting to use other flowers and leaves as well. 

 

There are probably around 60-70 workers now, and I have seen some large pupa, larger than any of the existent workers. The problem with Atta is that they hide their brood in the fungus, so it's pretty hard to see just how much they have. 

 

Experimenting with uploading a little video! This might not work so I'll revise it if so.

 

Edit: looks like it didn't work lol

 

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Edited by AntsAmerica, April 28 2023 - 11:10 PM.

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#35 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted May 13 2023 - 10:53 PM

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A couple months ago, I mentioned getting a second, much larger colony of this species around March-April-ish.

Well, the day is finally here about 2 months late! I was finally able to get the second colony after a lot of shipping issues and random problems. 

 

This colony is massive. It's around 5-6 thousand workers and already has some 17mm or so soldiers. 

Here are some pictures of the colony the night I got it. It had been in shipment for a few days, and the once watermelon-sized fungus was reduced to a million pieces scattered all over the container. I spent around 3 hours sorting the fungus bits from leaves and cotton that my friend put in there to reduce fungus movement during shipping, all while getting swarmed by a bunch of angry workers. 

 
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Here's a picture of the queen. This is the only picture I got of her before I let her hide in the pile of remaining fungus. She's around 22-23mm long. 

 
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During the next 2 mornings, I worked for a little while to gradually improve the setup and tidy everything up. A picture of the first feeding:
 
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Today they ate around 15 flowers and a bunch of rose leaves, and have already grown the fungus over an inch higher overnight. Completely insane rebuilding speeds, and I'm going to feed them as much as possible in the coming weeks to grow them as quickly as I can. 
 
I had an extra vine bridge from en experiment with a Novomessor colony, and decided this morning that this atta colony could make good use of it. Only after about half an hour of the initial attachment and feeding of a feast of trumpet flowers, they started transporting flower bits en-masse back to the nest. 
 
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They probably went through the whole pile of flowers after the night was done. 

Here is a picture of the finished vine bridge. I would try to get pictures of the fungus garden, but the tupperware it's in is really awful for viewing any sort of activity. This entire setup is under improvement; I'm hoping to get nicer fungus chambers and outworlds made soon and used. 

 

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I hope y'all like them! Atta do pretty horribly in shipment, but are remarkably quick to rebuild their colonies from my experience. I shot several timelapse videos of the foraging behavior and vine bridge, and will likely send them here shortly. 

 

One last note, the original, small colony is doing well. They're at around 70-80 workers and have been growing their fungus consistently. Nothing big going on with them at the moment.

 


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#36 Offline Ernteameise - Posted May 14 2023 - 2:01 AM

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You are lucky to have gotten such a cool colony.

They also look reasonably healthy?

I can imagine how much work it wad to get it all sorted and set up after shipment (and the pain of the bites of the interfering ants!).

Interesting setup- and I am curious how you will improve it.

In any case, this would be the centre-piece of any insect room and I could sit there for hours just watching them.

One day, if I ever have more money and a larger flat, I might attempt keeping leaf-cutters- for me, they are the pinnacle of insect keeping.

Good luck!


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#37 Offline ANTdrew - Posted May 14 2023 - 2:43 AM

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It’s crazy they could ship that! Is this Cheeto’s old colony?
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#38 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted May 14 2023 - 6:39 PM

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It’s crazy they could ship that! Is this Cheeto’s old colony?

No this is another one, from a queen caught in 2022. 



#39 Offline Amatty76 - Posted May 15 2023 - 5:21 AM

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It’s crazy they could ship that! Is this Cheeto’s old colony?

Cheetos old colony died after his dad turned the heat up too far when Cheeto was gone 



#40 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted May 26 2023 - 1:36 AM

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Some big updates. 

 

Firstly, I gave the small colony to a friend this past week, so I won't be doing any updates on them anymore. I'm gonna focus on feeding and improving the setup of the big colony. 

 

Lastly, regarding the big colony. If you look at the last update you can see the container they came in, that big tupperware. I was using that tupperware as their nest for the first week or so, and while things were going smoothly, I really hated the visibility and overall bad look of it in the setup. It was really hard to peek inside it to see how they were actually doing, and I wasn't able to get any pictures of videos at all of the interior. I took a trip to my local store, and found a couple of nice display cases for sale, which turned out to be what I was looking for. After pouring a concrete base and drilling a few entrance holes, this was the result: 

 
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That big container is the nest, and the smaller one is a landing pad for the vine bridge, which I'm going to keep in the setup. 
 
I decided to move the fungus manually from the old tupperware into the new nest once the concrete base had cured and the humidity was tested. I basically used some kitchen spoons to pick up the fungus bit by bit and move it over manually. Here's the fungus garden when I opened the lid of the old tupperware. You can tell it's grown quite a bit. 
 
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After about 2-3 hours of transferring and cleaning up, the setup looked sort of like this. This wasn't nearly perfect, but at least all the new parts of the nest were connected and functioning. 

 

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They came with a trash chamber originally, but I got rid of it once I saw them disposing of their trash neatly in the outworld. One of the benefits of keeping this species is that they make above-ground trash dumps, so it's easy to just get them to dispose of waste outside. 
 
Here's the end product: The display container makes it look a lot better than before. 
 
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I filmed a little timelapse of this colony foraging for yellow flowers I found growing in the cracks between the concrete at a local parking lot. I have a little canyon near me with all sorts of wild flowers and bushes, and the colony seems to accept most of the stuff I throw in the outworld. 
 
 
Hope y'all like the new setup

 

 

 


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