Jump to content

  • Chat
  •  
  •  

Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

Photo

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

atta formicarium leafcutter nest

76 replies to this topic

#61 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted August 4 2023 - 1:11 PM

AntsAmerica

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 47 posts
  • LocationUSA

Did you figure out a rim barrier?

Working on it. My friend is currently making an improved outworld and setup for them once he gets them from me, so the solution I'm making is pretty temporary. It should work fine though, thanks for your help.


  • 100lols likes this

#62 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 4 2023 - 2:07 PM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 9,440 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA
Cool. Glad to hear that.
  • AntsAmerica likes this
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#63 Offline 100lols - Posted August 4 2023 - 10:16 PM

100lols

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 413 posts
  • LocationSan Diego, CA
Cheers man! Best wishes at University.
  • AntsAmerica likes this

#64 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted August 7 2023 - 4:40 PM

AntsAmerica

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 47 posts
  • LocationUSA

I filmed a timelapse video of what a typical feeding looks like, but inside the nest this time. 

 

Most people are drawn to the foraging activity when it comes to a leafcutter ant colony, but the interior of the nest is also fascinating to look at. During the video, you'll see that the ants have taken a portion of the flowers and are kinda holding them on the wall of the nest. It kind of obstructs the view of the fungus, actually. They hold them away from the fungus for a reason; they have to clean every bit of the flower meticulously before adding it to the fungus. Any impurities can negatively impact the growth of the fungus, so they have to be careful what they add. 

 

The fungus itself is always completely covered in minim workers, the smallest workers of the colony. They can be as small as 1mm, and their job is to tend to fungus, help feed and clean brood, and clean off larger workers/the queen.

The minims are the reason correctly guessing the population of a colony is difficult; there are just so many of them inside and outside the fungus. The fungus always seems like it's moving, because there are so many little workers constantly moving around on it.

 

These ants, and ants in general, are extremely good at squeezing together to save space; I've seen hundreds of them group together in a corner occasionally, when the temperatures in the room get on the higher side. It's amazing how little space that many ants can occupy at once. 

 

My friend has a good macro lens, and one of these days I'll ask him to borrow it to get some good footage/pictures of them. 

 


Edited by AntsAmerica, August 7 2023 - 4:42 PM.

  • ANTdrew, AntsCali098, Locness and 2 others like this

#65 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted August 13 2023 - 9:24 PM

AntsAmerica

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 47 posts
  • LocationUSA

I'm going to be leaving for uni in a couple weeks, and this colony will be in another home in even less time, so I'm going to try to send a couple more updates before that day comes. 

 

Truth be told, part of me is disappointed to be leaving, the sole reason being this colony. When I got them mid May, they were probably around 3-5 thousand workers, and as of today, I think they're probably around the 15-20 thousand mark. The growth rate of this species is truly incredible, and it's one of the factors that makes them amazing to keep. I'm sure I could grow this colony well into the 6 digits if I was able to keep them for another year, but oh well. I'm sure I'll be able to keep them again sometime in the future when I have my own place, and you'd better believe I will grow them as huge as I possibly can. 

 

I should mention I'm planning on doing one last little nest expansion experiment with these dudes before I leave. I'll update as to how it goes.

 

Here are a couple pictures of the fungus and the zillions of workers that are constantly crawling all over it, tending to it. 

 

IMG 1324
IMG 1323

 

I was having problems with the barrier in the outworld; these things were staging little escapes every time I turned my back for more than a few hours. I did make a lip for the outworld at one point, but it sagged way too much and looked pretty awful. So I ended up replacing it with a much bigger and taller version, much harder for them to climb out of. 

 

IMG 1302

 

It's pretty ugly, but it definitely does the trick. 

 

 

Here are a couple more miscellaneous photos of them going to town on more yellow flowers the other night. For anyone wondering, ants from the genera Atta and Acromyrmex will go nuts for any type of honeysuckle or trumpet flowers. I feed them again and again to these ants and they never get tired of them. 

 

IMG 1320
IMG 1322
IMG 1319

 

And lastly, I have recorded yet another timelapse of these ants foraging, but from a completely new angle this time. This part of their setup is the only area where they can form an actual trail on the ground to transport their plant matter. Here you can see just how much stuff they bring in every night. This timelapse is about 50 minutes long originally, condensed down to 4 or so. At this rate, they can consume an entire grocery bag of flowers and leaves in a matter of hours. 

 

 

That's all for now! These things are definitely living up to their reputation; they've been absolutely awesome to observe so far.


Edited by AntsAmerica, April 2 2024 - 7:55 AM.

  • UtahAnts, Full_Frontal_Yeti, Ernteameise and 1 other like this

#66 Offline 100lols - Posted August 13 2023 - 10:32 PM

100lols

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 413 posts
  • LocationSan Diego, CA
Hopefully the girls new caretaker is going to have access to all those flowers like you do!! The time lapse was pretty cool :D

#67 Offline ANTdrew - Posted August 14 2023 - 2:32 AM

ANTdrew

    Advanced Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 9,440 posts
  • LocationAlexandria, VA
I forgot that your bins are pretty large, so sagging would be an issue. My tip would be to make the rim pretty thin. An inch of overhang would have less weight to sag and would probably be plenty to stop mischievous ants. You may need to look into water moats like they do in the big museum displays of Atta.
  • 100lols likes this
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#68 Offline mac33812 - Posted August 16 2023 - 1:58 PM

mac33812

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
Hi just wondering if there’s any news on the colony?… for hindsight I’m not horribly impatient, I thought this tread ended didn’t realize there were more pages lol

Edited by mac33812, August 16 2023 - 2:10 PM.


#69 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted August 16 2023 - 3:39 PM

AntsAmerica

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 47 posts
  • LocationUSA

Hi just wondering if there’s any news on the colony?… for hindsight I’m not horribly impatient, I thought this tread ended didn’t realize there were more pages lol

They're doing a little bit too well, lol. 


Edited by AntsAmerica, April 2 2024 - 7:56 AM.


#70 Offline mac33812 - Posted August 17 2023 - 6:40 AM

mac33812

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
I have another question, it looks like the fungus would have a foul odor, is that the case or is it pretty mild

#71 Offline UrbanOrganisms - Posted August 18 2023 - 9:16 AM

UrbanOrganisms

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts

I have another question, it looks like the fungus would have a foul odor, is that the case or is it pretty mild

Attini fungus has a fresh, earthy smell to it, not unpleasant at all. Fresh queens of atta have a flowery almost sweet smell to them as well. Remember, its a mushroom, not just a pile of rotting organic matter. Just like how mushrooms don't smell bad, this doesn't either ;)


Edited by UrbanOrganisms, August 18 2023 - 10:41 AM.


#72 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted August 19 2023 - 9:13 AM

AntsAmerica

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 47 posts
  • LocationUSA

 

I have another question, it looks like the fungus would have a foul odor, is that the case or is it pretty mild

Attini fungus has a fresh, earthy smell to it, not unpleasant at all. Fresh queens of atta have a flowery almost sweet smell to them as well. Remember, its a mushroom, not just a pile of rotting organic matter. Just like how mushrooms don't smell bad, this doesn't either ;)

 

Honestly it doesn't smell very good to me; it's more of a musty flower smell than anything else. It's also the dead fungus and other whatnot in the garbage pile that smells kinda bad mostly, the live fungus is much better. 



#73 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted August 24 2023 - 10:59 PM

AntsAmerica

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 47 posts
  • LocationUSA

At the time of writing, I leave for college in 2 days. This is more than likely going to be the final journal entry for the foreseeable future, since as as of 5 days ago I am no longer the caretaker of this colony. 

 

Keeping this colony was an absolute blast, to say the least. Acquiring them was a long process, but I can now say it was worth the time and money easily several times over. During the few months I had them, I got to witness their incredible exponential growth; they grew from 3-5k workers in May to around 15-20k in August. I also got to see firsthand their incredible polymorphism, and made them an awesome vine bridge to travel across. At their peak, I was feeding them around 100 flowers every day, all of which they would process by the next morning. I was absolutely blown away while observing their nest activity - these are the only ants I could watch for hours on end without getting bored. There were always a million little things to watch at once with these guys, and I'm going to miss them for that.

 

During my time with them, I went through 3 (painful) major nest changes, 2 setup revisions, and a lot of drilling, molding, and experimenting with new ideas. These ants truly kept me on my toes; they always seemed to be looking for their next escape route. They had 3 major escapes, 1 of which being so large, they actually made it all the way outside and into my rose plants. Their ability to form absurdly long trails is super cool to see in person. 

 

After finally acquiring and keeping a large colony from the genus Atta, I can now say they lived up to every expectation and hope I had for them. I'm far from a good photographer, but I hope the pictures and videos from the last few months helped to paint a picture of what I think the peak of antkeeping is like. Here are a few pictures from their final feeding.

 

IMG 1343
IMG 1349
IMG 1345
IMG 1342

 

 

I mentioned in the last update that I would attach a second nest for fun, just to see what they would do with it. I did end up doing so, and was glad I did. I basically just connected a plastic container to the original fungus chamber, with no plaster bottom or anything else to maintain humidity. Originally I threw a tiny speck of fungus in there, but in only 5 days they had grown that speck to a couple of little gardens, probably about the collective size of a golf ball. 

 
IMG 1348
IMG 1347

 

And finally, here's a picture of the main fungus chamber in the car, ready to go to its new home. The new caretaker is pretty experienced with leafcutters, so I have no doubt they'll do well there. 

 
IMG 1363

 

 

Well, that's all for now! Thank you guys so much for reading. It has been such a treat to keep and showcase this species, and I hope to keep them again sometime in the near future. I'll be sure to make a return here when that day comes.  :)


Edited by AntsAmerica, April 2 2024 - 8:02 AM.

  • CheetoLord02, ANTdrew, Somethinghmm and 5 others like this

#74 Offline CheetoLord02 - Posted August 24 2023 - 11:29 PM

CheetoLord02

    Vendor

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 784 posts
  • LocationMesa, AZ

o7

Was good reading this journal and talking to you on Discord about this colony. Glad they treated you well (besides the escapes, but honestly deserved). Have fun in college :bye:


  • AntsAmerica likes this

#75 Offline AntsCali098 - Posted August 25 2023 - 7:30 AM

AntsCali098

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 992 posts
  • LocationLong Beach, California (SoCal)
Got sad reading that last entry!

o7, have fun!
  • 100lols likes this

Interested buying in ants? Feel free to check out my shop

Feel free to read my journals, like this one.

 

Wishlist:

Atta sp (wish they were in CA), Crematogaster cerasi, Most Pheidole species

 

 


#76 Offline Gamer700 - Posted May 17 2024 - 10:34 PM

Gamer700

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
How you doing, is the colony ok under the other caretaker

#77 Offline AntsAmerica - Posted Yesterday, 8:51 AM

AntsAmerica

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 47 posts
  • LocationUSA

How you doing, is the colony ok under the other caretaker

Fine, as far as I know. There won't be any more updates about it here, though.


Edited by AntsAmerica, Yesterday, 8:51 AM.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: atta, formicarium, leafcutter, nest

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users