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Ant Costars Wanted for Kids' Show

ants live ants collect collector formicaria ant nest trophallax color local species drinking ant farm formicarium

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#1 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 14 2014 - 4:09 PM

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Hey, All!
My name is Adam Lazarus and I'm a longtime myrmecologist (sample references below).  I live in Los Angeles, and have recently teamed up with an animator to create a show especially for kids, called Bug Bites.  It combines hilarious animations like Here Comes Honey Bee Bee Roseannt with compelling live action to teach kids more about the natural world.  I host the show with my animated sidekick, Gilbert the Roach.

 

For our pilot episode we want to shoot a scene where ants raid our picnic, then turn all sorts of colors as they swell up from drinking colored fruit juice.  If you have ants who swell up & trophallax well, I'd love to speak with you about employing your critters for the scene.  Your precious beasts would NOT be the ants that get released onto our table; I'm using local L.humile for that.  YOUR ants would be used for heavily monitored close-up shots.

 

I'm also looking for stocked, visually pleasing formicaria housing any species, for macro shots.  If you have this or any ant colony that swells up magnificently, I would LOVE to speak with you.

 

I will take fabulous care of your ants.  You, of course, are invited to be a part of the action & keep your eye on them & me at all times.  See below to learn a bit more about me if you like.  Hope to hear from you!

 

Adam

 

TEDx | Look Insane, Be Kind, Talk Science

 

Demo

 

 

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#2 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted September 15 2014 - 8:27 PM

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What kind of ants would you be looking for? I would suspect that you would like ants that are at least the color of Argentine ants then.



#3 Offline Anhzor - Posted September 16 2014 - 9:26 PM

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Hi adam, andrew the moderator of this board has myrmecocystus that would work great for this.  Another species that would work great is Camponotus vicinus, they might be easier to work with due to their large size.



#4 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted September 16 2014 - 9:49 PM

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I have a small colony of Nylanderia which has slightly transparent gasters and look a bit like argentine ants to the "untrained" eye.



#5 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:23 PM

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Hi adam, andrew the moderator of this board has myrmecocystus that would work great for this.  Another species that would work great is Camponotus vicinus, they might be easier to work with due to their large size.

I actually talked to him, and he is probably going to use that light colored Camponotus I have, since they will do exactly what he's looking to catch on video.

 

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#6 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:28 PM

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What kind of ants would you be looking for? I would suspect that you would like ants that are at least the color of Argentine ants then.

Hi Gregory2455, thanks so much for getting in touch.  Ideally the ants would be exactly as you suggest.  However for the sake of good shots we're willing to use just about any species.  Conversely we're using the Argentines for the table raid, because that's what I can collect during my lunch breaks during my hectic days in downtown Los Angeles.  I would much prefer using a large colony of a large ant; I'm just not sure I can get one.  Any thoughts?

#7 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:32 PM

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I have a small colony of Nylanderia which has slightly transparent gasters and look a bit like argentine ants to the "untrained" eye.

WHere'd you get your Nylanderia??  Would definitely consider them for the shot.  In your opinion, do their gasters swell enough?  Also, what's your estimate on the number of ants in the colony?  Thank you.



#8 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:34 PM

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I actually talked to him, and he is probably going to use that light colored Camponotus I have, since they will do exactly what he's looking to catch on video.

 

gallery_2_174_35932.jpg

These look spectacular.  Don't feed them another thing!!  Definitely hope to pick these up from you, but still on the lookout for additional options.  As we only have two days of shooting, any way to hedge our bets is a good thing.  On that note if you have a larger ant that might make a better table raid than the tiny Argentines, I'd love to hear about it.  These are some beautiful ants you've got.



#9 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:35 PM

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If you're looking for some larger ants for the picnic raid, I would suggest gathering some Liometopum occidentale. I actually just collected about 100 workers tonight for someone from the Los Angeles County Museum or Art. I could help you out and gather probably as many as you need. These are probably by far the most abundant ant in the local hills around here. They trail like crazy, range in size from about 3 mm to 6 mm (mostly closer to 5 mm I would say), and I think would be perfect for the picnic raid.



#10 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:37 PM

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Hi adam, andrew the moderator of this board has myrmecocystus that would work great for this.  Another species that would work great is Camponotus vicinus, they might be easier to work with due to their large size.

Thanks for replying, Anhzor.  Totally agree with you on both points.  Hopefully meeting Andrew this weekend to check out what he's got.  Sounds like he might have some great candidates for the macro stuff, but I'm not sure if he has any large colonies of large ants.  These would be better for the table raid than L.humile.  You have anything big & numerous, or have you seen any in your travels?



#11 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:43 PM

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If you're looking for some larger ants for the picnic raid, I would suggest gathering some Liometopum occidentale. I actually just collected about 100 workers tonight for someone from the Los Angeles County Museum or Art. I could help you out and gather probably as many as you need. These are probably by far the most abundant ant in the local hills around here. They trail like crazy, range in size from about 3 mm to 6 mm (mostly closer to 5 mm I would say), and I think would be perfect for the picnic raid.

Fabulous suggestion.  You have a good lead on these?  I was thinking that if I make it up your way, this may be a good time to do some collecting too.  Do you have experience collecting whole nests?  We wouldn't need that necessarily, but I'm still curious.  A huge pile of these ants would be far better than the Argentines, thanks to the larger size and discrete trails of Liometopum.



#12 Offline Alza - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:46 PM

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Liometopum doesent make larger trails, infact argentine ants have the super colony from san diego to san francisco. i got about 60 argentine ant queens, and their worker production happens faster. 


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#13 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:50 PM

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Well, capturing an entire Liometopum occidentale colony as far as I know, would be next to impossible, but gathering thousands of workers would be a sure thing, it would just take some time. I know where a few nests are, and since they have MASSIVE colonies, they are like eternal Velvety Tree Ant dispensers.



#14 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:54 PM

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Well, capturing an entire Liometopum occidentale colony as far as I know, would be next to impossible, but gathering thousands of workers would be a sure thing, it would just take some time. I know where a few nests are, and since they have MASSIVE colonies, they are like eternal Velvety Tree Ant dispensers.

Then we should have some on hand.  I'll email you.
Just curious- have you ever seen a queen?  The nests sure are huge.



#15 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted September 16 2014 - 10:59 PM

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Then we should have some on hand. I'll email you.
Just curious- have you ever seen a queen? The nests sure are huge.

He had a queen.


By the way, you asked about where I got the Nylanderia, Simi Valley is home of Nylanderia. There hardly even seems to be Argentine ants, the Nylanderia seem to do well at displacing them.

#16 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 16 2014 - 11:03 PM

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Liometopum doesent make larger trails, infact argentine ants have the super colony from san diego to san francisco. i got about 60 argentine ant queens, and their worker production happens faster. 

Nobody said their trails are larger. The ants are larger--much larger.

 

Then we should have some on hand.  I'll email you.
Just curious- have you ever seen a queen?  The nests sure are huge.

I started a colony from a queen last year, and again this year, but they both died.



#17 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 16 2014 - 11:03 PM

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He had a queen.


By the way, you asked about where I got the Nylanderia, Simi Valley is home of Nylanderia. There hardly even seems to be Argentine ants, the Nylanderia seem to do well at displacing them.

Thanks for your response, Gregory.  Yeah, Nylanderia seems great at dominating.  Who is 'he' who had a queen?  You mean Andrew?


Nobody said their trails are larger. The ants are larger--much larger.

 

I started a colony from a queen last year, and again this year, but they both died.

Ahh.  Gotcha on the the queen issue.



#18 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 16 2014 - 11:05 PM

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Liometopum doesent make larger trails, infact argentine ants have the super colony from san diego to san francisco. i got about 60 argentine ant queens, and their worker production happens faster. 

Thanks for jumping in, Alza.  Do you have a lot of Argentines now?  I have a small colony with 600 - 1000 ants and 8 queens.  Would love to boost its numbers considerably.



#19 Offline Myrmicinae - Posted September 17 2014 - 7:52 AM

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I would definitely donate some colonies to the project, but I'm quite a bit further east (in Colorado), so I don't think I can be of much help.  Would you be able to share some of the final footage here?


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#20 Offline lazarusadam - Posted September 17 2014 - 8:23 AM

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I would definitely donate some colonies to the project, but I'm quite a bit further east (in Colorado), so I don't think I can be of much help.  Would you be able to share some of the final footage here?

Much obliged for your generosity, Myrmicinae.  If you were closer, I'd take you up on your kind offer!  At some point, I'll be happy to share the final footage!







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: ants, live ants, collect, collector, formicaria, ant nest, trophallax, color, local, species, drinking, ant farm, formicarium

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