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

atta formicarium leafcutter nest

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#41 Offline Ernteameise - Posted May 26 2023 - 11:35 AM

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Wonderful.

This is shaping up quite nicely.

I think I could watch all day.


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#42 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted May 27 2023 - 8:52 AM

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Here's another video I filmed of them foraging for some random flowers I was able to find near me. These things have an insane appetite for virtually any type of flower I give them, but they are especially keen on roses and trumpet flowers. 

 

 

Edit: I only just realized how goofy the chameleon is acting during this timelapse lul


Edited by AntsAmerica, May 27 2023 - 8:54 AM.

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#43 Offline 100lols - Posted June 22 2023 - 3:39 PM

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Awesome journal! Love this species.

#44 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted June 28 2023 - 8:27 PM

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Been over a month, I had some irl stuff going on and kinda didn't update this enough. 

 

I've ignored this journal a little too much, but I definitely haven't ignored the colony itself. They've grown a lot since I started with them in May.

 

If you look at the last post, you'll see that their fungus chamber was super big, like way too big for the colony size at the time. As it would turn out, something like that just doesn't work. For about a month with this new chamber, I was constantly dealing with their attempts to pile garbage and other waste next to the fungus. I am almost certain that this was an attempt to control the humidity a bit better since the container was so big. 

 

So, after a few times of going in and personally scooping out the garbage piles (not fun), I decided to just move the entire colony to a new container, a smaller one. 

 
IMG 0950

 

This new nest is still huge for a single fungus chamber, but much smaller than the previous one. Once I moved the fungus to this new container, I saw that they had stopped piling garbage inside. Which was good, because I've come to find that messing with their fungus chamber is a huge pain. 

 

Another update is on the garbage pile they're supposed to use, the one outside the nest. If you look at the last post, you'll see the garbage pile in the outworld is pretty minimal. Now it's huge, and I have to scoop some of it out every week to keep it from reaching the lid.

 

IMG 0952

 

I also feed these ants a little too much on occasion, since all the good flowers are in bloom right now and I don't want to leave any behind on the bushes. They can't use all this plant material right away, so they just kind of store it here. I need to feed them less, because this pile of still-to-be-processed plant matter is getting pretty big. But, it's pretty cool to watch them trail through the piles of food.

 

IMG 0953
 
Now onto the fungus itself! This is the best part of the colony to observe by far, since it's constantly being changed and added to. This stuff is absolutely covered in minim workers at all times. It's several inches tall in a few places, and probably around the size of a watermelon. It's growing visibly bigger everyday, too. I think I'm going to add another chamber if they fill this current one quickly enough.
 
The ants especially love honeysuckle and trumpet flowers, but will also go after rose, privet, bougainvillea, rolled oats, and invasive mustard. They seem to like flowers a lot more than actual leaves, at least from what I've been feeding them. 
 
IMG 0954
IMG 0955
IMG 0956

 

One last thing: I filmed another timelapse the other day, and it turned out amazingly well. I captured one of the best feeding responses I've seen to date. I only filmed for around an hour, but they were foraging well into the night. 

 

 

That's basically it for now, hope y'all like it!


Edited by AntsAmerica, April 2 2024 - 7:34 AM.

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#45 Offline Ernteameise - Posted June 28 2023 - 10:13 PM

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Very cool!

I am happy they are doing so well!


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#46 Offline 100lols - Posted July 1 2023 - 7:53 PM

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Their little loop in the wood is awesome! Great stuff… they really have grown a ton. Thanks for the update :)
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#47 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted July 7 2023 - 1:27 PM

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This colony tends to waste a lot of plant material by cutting it, then just dumping it near the nest entrance without ever using it. The pile of unused plant material is beginning to look like a landfill, a literal mountain of dead leaves and flowers. For a few days I tried underfeeding to see if that would make them use at least a little more of what they cut, but still got the same results. 

 

So as of a week or so ago, I started dumping most of the flowers directly into the nest itself, straight on top of the fungus. It's not quite as cool as watching the ants cut the flowers themselves, but they do use more material than before. It also makes for some cool pictures.

 

IMG 0997
IMG 0998

 


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#48 Offline Jonathan5608 - Posted July 7 2023 - 5:19 PM

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This colony tends to waste a lot of plant material by cutting it, then just dumping it near the nest entrance without ever using it. The pile of unused plant material is beginning to look like a landfill, a literal mountain of dead leaves and flowers. For a few days I tried underfeeding to see if that would make them use at least a little more of what they cut, but still got the same results.

So as of a week or so ago, I started dumping most of the flowers directly into the nest itself, straight on top of the fungus. It's not quite as cool as watching the ants cut the flowers themselves, but they do use more material than before. It also makes for some cool pictures.

got any soldiers yet

#49 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted July 8 2023 - 7:49 AM

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This colony tends to waste a lot of plant material by cutting it, then just dumping it near the nest entrance without ever using it. The pile of unused plant material is beginning to look like a landfill, a literal mountain of dead leaves and flowers. For a few days I tried underfeeding to see if that would make them use at least a little more of what they cut, but still got the same results.

So as of a week or so ago, I started dumping most of the flowers directly into the nest itself, straight on top of the fungus. It's not quite as cool as watching the ants cut the flowers themselves, but they do use more material than before. It also makes for some cool pictures.

got any soldiers yet

 

Yeah, they have a bunch of soldiers at this point, over 20 large ones easily now. The biggest are around 17mm; I can try to get a good picture of one soon.

 

Edit: measured one of the largest ones and it came out to around 15.5-16mm, a little smaller than I originally thought.


Edited by AntsAmerica, July 18 2023 - 8:25 PM.


#50 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted July 15 2023 - 9:21 PM

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I didn't update, but 2 days ago this colony had an annoyingly large escape while I was gone for the day. I came home at night to find probably 1000-1500 workers all over the floor, and the outworld barrier breached with a trail of workers going through it. It took a couple hours to vacuum them all up and throw them back in the outworld. They had never attacked the barrier like this before, so I assume it was the lack of feeding for the day that caused them to want to break out. 

 

They made an impressive 50-60 foot trail all the way to the garage, which my dad wasn't too stoked about. Right now I'm actually away again with the whole family this time, meaning nobody is going to feed these things for the next 5 days. I reapplied the barrier and gave them 2 whole grocery bags full of flowers to hopefully keep them at least at bay for the next few days, but I have a funny feeling I'm gonna come home to another giant mess.

 

Next time they have a huge breakout, I'll make sure to get some videos of it to showcase the cool trailing behavior, which was pretty much the only positive takeaway from this whole event.


Edited by AntsAmerica, July 15 2023 - 9:21 PM.

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#51 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 16 2023 - 2:44 AM

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Sounds like you need one of my CrematoProof Outworlds.
You can see some on the last page of my shop: https://www.formicul...colonies/page-3
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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.

#52 Offline AntsTopia - Posted July 20 2023 - 6:14 AM

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Dang Atta grow really fast. Cool colony!


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Keeper of:

 

Atta Mexicana x 1

Messor Barbarus x 1

 

Ants are just better.


#53 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted July 30 2023 - 2:47 PM

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This colony is starting to grow enormous. 

 

When I got back after an additional few days away, I found that the Atta had actually found their way all the way outside into the garden and were cutting up the rose plants. It took over 4 hours to clean up everything.

 

Needless to say, they're requiring a lot more flowers and leaves every day to keep them happy. Otherwise, they group up in the outworld and attack the barrier until they eventually get past it. I've been talking to some friends and I'm trying to construct a lip for the outworld; an upside down barrier which I know they can't bypass. 

 

The increased feeding is definitely paying off; the fungus seems to be growing at an exponential rate. Take a look...

 

IMG 1182
IMG 1183

 

It's pretty insane to look at this colony during feeding and see all the plant matter they've piled up in the nest. After feeding them something like a green leaf or a yellow flower, I can look into the nest a couple hours later and find pretty much the entire fungus covered in that specific color. 

 

As they consume more and more plant material, their trash pile is growing quickly too. The fungus seems to die off almost as quickly as it grows, which is why the fungus garden always seems to be pretty small when I compare it to the pile of flowers it consumes almost every night. I constantly see workers bringing little dead fungus clumps to the garbage pile to dump, and the pile is honestly getting a little too big. I might need to use a different outworld or clean it all out somehow. 

 

IMG 1181
 
And lastly, a couple pictures of them foraging, along with an update video on how they're doing currently. 
This colony was big before I got them, so finally seeing them grow at this rate is awesome. 
 
IMG 1179
IMG 1180

 


Edited by AntsAmerica, January 16 2024 - 11:29 AM.

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#54 Offline 100lols - Posted July 30 2023 - 2:54 PM

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I swear they blow me away every time!!! Looking great :)

That tubing leading to the fungus chamber is a fatty lol
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#55 Offline Jonathan5608 - Posted July 30 2023 - 3:07 PM

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This colony is starting to grow enormous.

I went on a second vacation about 2 weeks ago, and when I came back after a few days away, I discovered a large trail of Atta cutting my roses and strawberry leaves, outside in the garden. Outside the house! The trail was 100-200 feet long and I still have no idea how they managed to find their way outside.

Needless to say, they're requiring a lot more flowers and leaves every day to keep them happy. Otherwise, they group up in the outworld and attack the barrier until they eventually get past it. I've been talking to some friends and I'm trying to construct a lip for the outworld; an upside down barrier which I know they can't bypass.

The increased feeding is definitely paying off; the fungus seems to be growing at an exponential rate. Take a look...




It's pretty insane to look at this colony during feeding and see all the plant matter they've piled up in the nest. After feeding them something like a green leaf or a yellow flower, I can look into the nest a couple hours later and find pretty much the entire fungus covered in that specific color.

As they consume more and more plant material, their trash pile is growing quickly too. The fungus seems to die off almost as quickly as it grows, which is why the fungus garden always seems to be pretty small when I compare it to the pile of flowers it consumes almost every night. I constantly see workers bringing little dead fungus clumps to the garbage pile to dump, and the pile is honestly getting a little too big. I might need to use a different outworld or clean it all out somehow.



And lastly, a couple pictures of them foraging, along with an update video on how they're doing currently.
This colony was big before I got them, so finally seeing them grow at this rate is awesome.





https://www.youtube....rts/6Nbkh6EiBxI

the fungus garden looks like ant city. Crazy awesome
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#56 Offline ANTdrew - Posted July 30 2023 - 3:34 PM

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Here’s what you need to do: go to a craft store and buy a large poster frame that has flexible plastic instead of glass. You can trim this kind of plastic easily with good scissors. Trim it to just barely fit in your outworld and also cut out a big hole in the middle. Position your rim and hold it up with mounting putty while gluing it permanently around the edge with silicone. Line the bottom with top quality fluon. Your setup is now escape proof.
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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.

#57 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted August 4 2023 - 11:51 AM

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I'm going to be leaving for university at the end of August, and this colony will be going to a friend to keep for a while. This journal is gonna have to end for the foreseeable future when I leave, so I'm going to use these last 3 or so weeks with the colony to post a lot of pictures and document a lot of their activity. 

 

A portion of the fungus partially fell over a few days ago, and they're regrowing it super quickly. Every aspect of this colony is growing super quickly. Atta can reach their mature, 7 digit worker count size in just 3 years, and I'm beginning to see why. When I look into the nest, I always see hundreds of callows everywhere. They're getting really good at hiding all their brood, but I occasionally see a small pile here and there, nestled in the fungus.

 
IMG 1238
IMG 1239

 

Cheeto already did this, but I thought I would try and showcase the nutty polymorphism this genus can exhibit. This colony has a bunch of big majors now, and because they usually stay in the nest, ready to defend it, it's usually kinda difficult to get one out to take good pictures of it. But recently, I found one sitting around near the entrance of the foraging tube, and got a cool picture of it next to one of the smaller minim workers. It's definitely not the biggest major in the colony, and the minim next to it isn't the smallest, but it was still pretty neat.

 

They would not stop moving around, so the picture isn't terribly good unfortunately. 

 

IMG 1200

 

I also got a couple pictures of another major in the nest, next to a bunch of other workers. One of these days I'm going to use a stick or something to cause trouble near the nest entrance to see how quickly the majors respond to the threat. 

 

IMG 1236
IMG 1240

Edited by AntsAmerica, April 2 2024 - 7:49 AM.

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#58 Offline Ernteameise - Posted August 4 2023 - 11:55 AM

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These girls are amazing


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#59 Offline Virginian_ants - Posted August 4 2023 - 11:57 AM

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Good luck at uni!
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#60 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 4 2023 - 12:56 PM

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Did you figure out a rim barrier?
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.





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