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Goons Are Great

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As a matter of fact, she is the one carrying the brood around randomly, her girls are now fighting her on finally getting that poo poo sorted. Just watched them for 5 minutes where she moved pupae around and one of the workers came and brought it back to the rest of them.

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Stoner Sloth



goonspeed to the two departing queens - amazing job ladies!

and of course best wishes to all of them, including Brunhilde - long may they all reign over their respective growing families!!

e: woops, meant to add thank you very much for the update GaG!



sigs by the awesome Manifisto, Vanisher, City of Glompton, and Pot Smoke Phoenix - ty friends!

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




Goons Are Great posted:

I hope you guys somewhat enjoyed this super nerdy ride with my two additional queens!
Queen Brunhilde by the way will of course stay here with me and will then once again be the sole Emperor of this realm. By the way, her latest batch of babies also finally hatched, it is getting crowded in there! I estimate roughly 20 workers is the current total, they are by now curious, aggressive and active and they eat a lot, so it's going great there, too. I wonder how many more babies we can get out of the cooker before the long sleep begins in winter.

this makes my heart swell


thank you very much vanisher, x 2, and six for the loveliest handwriting ever

karoshi

"Can somebody mspaint eyes on the steaming packages? TIA" yeah well fuck you too buddy, this is the best you're gonna get. Is this even "work-safe"? Let's find out!

Goons Are Great

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Page 3 resurrection update!!

Alright, I wanted to do an effort post but couldn't decide on what topic, so instead I'll just tell you guys how it's going currently in Brunhilde's queendom.



I even got a picture of her this time!
So originally they were living in the concrete nest I posted about roughly 24 pages ago, however that was not very practical for me or them, so I offered them a quasi-birthing tube (which is just a test tube filled with water in the back and cotton to seal off the water), which they moved into in early spring. They liked that much more than then way too big and comparably dry concrete nest (~75% humidity vs. 90+%). However, until September, the water dried out and I had to either motivate them to move back into the concrete nest, or get another option going, since it's now autumn, I went for the latter. Another test tube, fresh water and red filters to make it appear dark. They ignored that for weeks, even though their old nest completely dried out and I thought, hmm, what's up, why don't they care more about having a humid nest.
However, suddenly, in a matter of like, 2 hours in the middle of the night, they moved everything over in record speed. I desperately wanted to film them moving all the brood and stuff over, but the fuckers probably waited for me to not watch for two hours to avoid me doing that.

Anyways, they have a new nest now and as you can see, Brunhilde has been incredibly busy again. It's all full of pupae and some larvae, given that it now gets increasingly cold, she slowed down her egg production and by now has stopped entirely - they know winter is coming(tm).
So these happy pupae you see they are climbing on is probably the last brood for this year, remaining eggs that don't make it towards pupa stage until mid to end of October are probably going to be eaten, because in November their long sleep begins and I am very excited but also scared for that time. I'll have to slowly reduce their surrounding temperature to a point where they can prepare for winter, they will reduce their food intake and get less active, then they will seal off their nest and wait for it to get really cold (meaning I put them in a fridge), then they sleep until the end of February. In the mean time, they will not eat or drink and that's the dangerous part, because I have to make sure their nest does not get too moist or too dry. Drying out during winter is the #2 killer of ant colonies under human care, right behind a deadly mite infestation.

So we'll see how that turns out!
In the meantime, I can report (with no pictures though) to you, that both Cassantra as well as Cleopantra are safe and sound. Since my plans to give away Cassantra to a soon to be ant keeper sadly didn't work out (he had second thoughts due to moving soon and didn't want to invest into equipment yet), both are now living nearby my home on a patch of grass surrounded by trees. Neither nests ran full of water, no predators killed them, they apparently even managed to find proper sources of food and water, because both queens are laying eggs.
They will also go to winter sleep soon, probably sooner than Brunhilde's girls, so we'll see how that works out!

With activity winding down and winter coming, my updates here will become even less frequent, but I'll update you friends whenever something happens.

Kaiser Schnitzel

Schnitzel mit uns





okay i just discovered this thread and I have to say I cannot wait until I read the entire thing tomorrow because i want to learn more about them because they are terrifying and amamzing. I think maybe the only insects that might be as fascinating are termites.

My useless ant fact: my hometown was allegedly the original port of entry into the United States of the fire ant, and E.O. Wilson who is possibly the most famous ant person grew up around here too! We have alot of ants, especially in my yard!



ty vanisher for this wonderful sig!

Stoner Sloth



Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

okay i just discovered this thread and I have to say I cannot wait until I read the entire thing tomorrow because i want to learn more about them because they are terrifying and amamzing. I think maybe the only insects that might be as fascinating are termites.

My useless ant fact: my hometown was allegedly the original port of entry into the United States of the fire ant, and E.O. Wilson who is possibly the most famous ant person grew up around here too! We have alot of ants, especially in my yard!

you're definitely in for a treat, it's a good thread!

thanks to GaG for it and for the update - glad to hear that all the girls are doing well and hope that they stay safe over winter!!



sigs by the awesome Manifisto, Vanisher, City of Glompton, and Pot Smoke Phoenix - ty friends!

Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly



Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

okay i just discovered this thread and I have to say I cannot wait until I read the entire thing tomorrow because i want to learn more about them because they are terrifying and amamzing. I think maybe the only insects that might be as fascinating are termites.

My useless ant fact: my hometown was allegedly the original port of entry into the United States of the fire ant, and E.O. Wilson who is possibly the most famous ant person grew up around here too! We have alot of ants, especially in my yard!

ANTS!!!!
Reading this thread in one session is a project though, think of the children!

Also I'm thinking of doing some effort posts on specific species or genera and talk about them in particular, maybe it helps understanding your neighbors better

Stoner Sloth



Goons Are Great posted:

ANTS!!!!
Reading this thread in one session is a project though, think of the children!

Also I'm thinking of doing some effort posts on specific species or genera and talk about them in particular, maybe it helps understanding your neighbors better

Always down for hearing more about ant friends!



sigs by the awesome Manifisto, Vanisher, City of Glompton, and Pot Smoke Phoenix - ty friends!

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

I think maybe the only insects that might be as fascinating are termites.

bees.
BEES.
BEES


thank you very much vanisher, x 2, and six for the loveliest handwriting ever

Goons Are Great

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Alright some news before the winter sends everyone to sleep for good!

First of all, in the past few weeks it finally rained for a really good while and in really good amounts, which at least somewhat fixes the recently too dry climate we had here for over a year now. However, the bad news is that, as expected, the water at some point poured into the nests of Cassantra and Cleopantra and flooded it. Yesterday I checked them out and saw only water filled tubes with no ants in it anymore - however, also no drowned ant corpses.
That means that either they got surprised by it and died anyways, but it happened a good while ago and their bodies are already decomposed (insect bodies in nature usually break apart in a matter of a few days, or they get eaten by someone), or they managed to escape. I highly assume the latter, because else I should be able to find any trace of their corpses otherwise and also if there's one thing ants are good at, it's surviving floods and have fun with water.

Either way, both queens and their babies are gone, they probably moved somewhere nearby but I couldn't distinguish them from other wild ant nests, so I cannot search for them. Maybe, at some point, we will meet again!

Meanwhile, Brunhilde has been terribly busy, check out the numbers here, pixaal helped me count them:


That's insane, because like a month ago I think I counted roughly more than 20 ants and now we are looking at almost 50, plus the pupae! Remember when Brunhilde was still all alone in March and even lost a daughter? Well she apparently had no plans to give up her kingdom. I am a very happy ant person right now.

Their nest is now on an open window to cool them down along with the weather, plus they no longer get any food, preparing them for the long sleep. I wanted to do that three weeks ago, but for some reason all the pupae there don't want to hatch, so I gave them more time (if I cool them to sleep temperature before they hatch, the babies die inside and the ants will eat them up in spring). I hope they finally will hatch soon so Brunhilde and her babies can get their very well earned 6 month break.

LonsomeSon

A fishperson in an intimidating hat!

Go boldly, Cassantra and Cleopantra! May you be floated to your safe rest for the winter on a raft of your living children, and wake with the flowers in the spring!

oh but seriously I

Do you ever wonder if there are other planets out there
(source)
brunhilde is powerful



poo poo, Papps made this. I forgot to say

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




oh but seriously I posted:

brunhilde is powerful


thank you very much vanisher, x 2, and six for the loveliest handwriting ever

Stoner Sloth



good luck to the wild ant friends, hope they're okay

and awesome work brunhilde!!



sigs by the awesome Manifisto, Vanisher, City of Glompton, and Pot Smoke Phoenix - ty friends!

SuBeCo
Amazing... Simply amazing...
What do you think about these sad ants finally reuniting with their pals?
https://www.newsweek.com/cannibal-a...impression=true

goonmap.com|9385537

Goons Are Great

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drat! That's a story. They must have been so happy to get back to their family after all these years. I not only find it impressive that they survived this long, but also that they were welcomed back. Their typical nest smell must have survived all these years so they were able to be recognized as family after such a long time.

The cannibalism thing isn't at all surprising, ants eat each other constantly, both inside the family and with a grim happiness corpses from other ant colonies, even if it's the same species. Dead or doomed eggs, larvae and pupae will be eaten for an easy snack and dead pals will also be eaten if they need it. Need meaning it's harder to get fresh food than just eating them here.

The only ants they won't eat is those that died by disease. Those get carried out and buried on the graveyard along with all the other deceased friends they didn't feel the need to eat due to sufficient external food sources.

As a matter of fact, my ants who by the way now made their way into my fridge for the long sleep, opened up and ate their pupae before they went to sleep, as they knew they won't make it through winter.

It's all about adaptation after all.

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




can i be an uncle


thank you very much vanisher, x 2, and six for the loveliest handwriting ever

Goons Are Great

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Literally already filed the paper in the ant office for that tbh. I did that in advance just in case you might not agree on your own.

Heather Papps


hello internet friend





thank you very much vanisher, x 2, and six for the loveliest handwriting ever

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




Bump

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




up date
Up date
UP DATE
UP DATE

Goons Are Great

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Alright alright alright, I have been hesitant in bringing back this thread from like byob page 8 or something without having any big news or another huge effort post coming in, but to whatever super nerdy person still has this one bookmarked, I'll show you at least a small sign of life in Brunhilde's powerful army.

The ants are still sleeping, as they have been since November. I ran into some problems actually putting them to bed, as they still had ~12 pupae lying around that refused to hatch for like, three weeks. Must have been really unlucky in when they started building the cocoon. I put the ants in my kitchen and left the window open 24/7 resulting in a comfortable kitchen temperature of ~8C during that time, varying throughout the day. It was quite annoying for me to cook in a jacket, but sometimes that's what it takes to healthily regulate my ants down to winter temperatures.
After a while of waiting I decided to call it a night for them even with the pupae still unready (which means their inevitable death), as the ants were annoyed on their own - they didn't eat or drink anymore and they sealed their nest with soil, demonstrating that they had no interest in staying awake and wanted to sleep. The remaining pupae either emergency hatched when the cold of my fridge hit them, or they slowly dried out and died inside the cocoon if they couldn't do so. Their bodies will be eaten by Brunhilde and the hungriest ants once spring hits as a quick energy boost after not eating at all for half a year.

Here's them right now:


Many of them hide inside the cotton, as there's water right behind it, which means it's dripping wet and this allows their bodies to also stay wet. They swap around who gets to sleep inside the cotton, as there's not enough room for all of them, not all of them need so much water all the time and there has to be a safe cotton spot for Brunhilde, so they basically formed an internal order who gets to get wet when. The one ant outside the pile is the current watcher ant, she's "awake" and reacted to my light immediately, which is why she moved and probably sprayed some pheromones to warn her sisters about me. That job also gets circled around, even though it's hard, as the ants are incredibly tired and are hardly able to move due to the lack of warmth (just as many reptiles, ants and basically all insects rely on their surrounding temperature to function). Big props to all the watchers who have a terribly tough job in the constant cold of my fridge!

Meanwhile, I have reworked their outworld. I removed Tomas the Tomato Plant that accidentally grew out of a single tomato seed that somehow landed in the thin soil without being eaten by the spring tails (which ate the rest of the tomato) and it grew larger and larger until it came out of the entire formicarium. Removing him meant also removing his widely spread roots, which resulted in a cataclysm for the spring tails, as I basically had to tear apart the entire soil and separate the individual plants that have grown there.
I rebuilt it using a mixture of regular soil plus small gravel:


It looks way dirtier and less sorted than it did before, but this is basically on plan. For one, I wanted to re-plant all the small plants that have grown there, including an entire pillow of moss, but most importantly, the mix of gravel and regular forest soil means the ground is very, very grainy, resulting in a drastically increased surface area. The spring tails are mating like hell and I easily released a few hundreds of them by throwing out the remaining soil I couldn't re-introduce, still there are huuuundreds of them in there. A flat area would limit their ability to walk around, so I rather have it somewhat dirtier while offering, for their eyes, a whole new planet to explore. They can now jump around and hide between tiny patches of soil and stones and feel like the entire thing is way bigger than it actually is.
I also managed to get a relatively good shot of them lately:


These tiny white guys with the small, cute antenna is them. One of the most important and yet most often ignored life form on this planet, as they come in tens of thousands per square meter of earth and eat basically everything that falls down to make it extremely small and enable the final decomposing organisms to eat the remains and re-introduce the stuff in there back into the earth, from which then new plants can grow.
The ciiiiircle of liiiiife

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




Goons Are Great posted:

The ciiiiircle of liiiiife

It ruuuuuuules us aaaallllllllll

Manifisto




ty for the update, good to hear about the doings of small frens


amazing sigs courtesy of vanisher and luvcow

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




Hilde is my heart ant

SeaGoatSupreme
Ask me about fixed-gear bikes (aka "fixies")
If the brood gets to be too much, I will offer my home to one worker ant, they shall be named Samantha and I will raise them on the same honey I feed my own family

Brunhilde has done a fine job, I am very proud of her

Also this thread is the best and it was a very happy discovery tonight, thank you for your service GaG

Goons Are Great

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I always get happy when someone discovers this nerdy rear end thread after running for so long!

This year is going to be exciting, the ants are looking fine in the sleep and if all goes well and I can wake them up next month they should get back up to production and regular work soon. Given they grew so much last year and their current state looking fine, I see a healthy chance that this year might trigger Brunhilde's biggest challenge yet: Producing alates.

It's a far off possibility right now and they probably will wait for another year, plus they will have to move nests again in order to further grow, but I'm ready either way. I've read about rather small colonies of 50+ workers giving birth to new queens and males before if the nutrition is right, so it is a possibility. Either way, I'm looking forward to have my babies back in action and will have to resume my fruit fly culture in a few weeks as well.

xcheopis



Glad to hear they're doing so well!

Stoner Sloth



always a happy day when my bookmarks show more posts in Ant Crew thread!!

ty for the update GaG! happy that the lil colony is getting their winter beauty sleep in!



sigs by the awesome Manifisto, Vanisher, City of Glompton, and Pot Smoke Phoenix - ty friends!

LonsomeSon

A fishperson in an intimidating hat!

Im really glad for the update about our one and only true queen and her body politic!

Definitely looking forward to seeing what their first full year of activity brings.

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




Stoner Sloth posted:

always a happy day when my bookmarks show more posts in Ant Crew thread!!

i want an ant can they survive being mailed????


thank you very much vanisher, x 2, and six for the loveliest handwriting ever

binaryslacker

Good Times
sorry but i prefer Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, ants are cool but Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is cooler.

Stoner Sloth



how are our favourite ant friends doing GaG?



sigs by the awesome Manifisto, Vanisher, City of Glompton, and Pot Smoke Phoenix - ty friends!

Kaiser Schnitzel

Schnitzel mit uns





I am glad this thread re-appeared because it is always on my sunday morning 'read that whole danged good thread!' list and I never have finished it so keep posting in this thread until sunday morning so I'll read the whole fascinating thing.

hope ant babes are happy, healthy, and humongous



ty vanisher for this wonderful sig!

Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly



Woah you necroed the ant crew!!
I was thinking about doing that but instead cheated my way around in the chat thread.

I'll post an actual update later, ants are awake and alive and eating tons of insects right now so time to post some proof of that.

Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly



Good thing "later" is so unspecified that I can hide my inconsistency of keeping up posting promises behind word magic.

Alright, so the ant crew is doing really well. They left the winter sleep at the end of Februrary, not because it was time, but because the ants wanted to. They resisted the cold and made clear that they wanted out by trying to climb out of the winter tube multiple times. I warmed them up closing up my kitchen, keeping the window open 24/7 to get down to their temperature from the fridge at first, then over the course of a bit more than a week slowly warm them up.
They started to collect honey even as the temperatures were still around 8C for them, which is amazing, given that ants, like all insects and most animals in general, are poikilothermic and depend on the surrounding temperature to be able to move properly, as the body lacks energy and cannot produce it by itself.

As soon as they warmed up and I moved them back to their original place, they started to be quite active. Actually more active than ever before, as they started to do send out patrols almost permanently, which is something colonies only do once they reached a certain size. Remember: Every trip outside of their nest equals a high risk of dying for an ant, so having one out more or less all the time (they organize themselves in shifts for this) is special and only doable once they feel confident that their grasp on their territory is strong enough to be sustained despite casualties.
Here's them right now, photo taken ten minutes ago:

Yeah, I know it's terrible, but their increased activity comes along with an increased aggressiveness which means lifting the cover from their nest to take a photo results in alarm being called, soldiers being recruited and my hand getting bitten and sprayed with venom. They show no fear in defending their home now, last year they still ran away when I did that.

However, you can see Brunhilde in there! Covered in her faithful subjects to protect her from any harm coming from this monstrous hand and face, their bellies directed away from her so they can shoot venom at whoever comes too close. That's classic defensive behavior when it comes to keeping the queen safe and is a healthy sign.
As numbers grow, they start to split up the upcoming work more and more, too. I already mentioned patrols and soldiers being on duty, but they also now have enough numbers to have a janitor shift up and running constantly, which FINALLY means I no longer have to do it, as they carry out their trash and poop out to the freshly constructed junkyard (I destroyed the old one when cleaning out the entire outworld while they were asleep) and I only have to empty out that every now and then.

Additionally to the general growth, the new workers began to split up in more specific biological castes, which is something this species (Lasius Niger) does as every other species, but not as obvious or excessive as other ant species you might have seen ITT or elsewhere. This means that the ants now start organizing not just their work, but also the duties new born workers will have to fulfill, by biologically separating them into minor, media and major castes - small, normal and big ants. They achieve that by closely monitoring and organizing what larva gets to eat which amounts of proteins during their growing phase, which limits or boosts their respective growth, leading to variances in how big the final ant gets. Small workers, called minors, usually stay inside, clean up and take care of the eggs and baby larvae, regular workers are scouts, getting food in and feeding the queen and the minors (that then feed the babies from their share) and the majors, of which I so far have seen three, are meant for fighting duties, carrying big stuff around and cutting down prey while consumption.
Other species than this one do this additional separation in castes next to their general class (worker, male and queen) even more excessively, leading to drastic differences in ant sizes. There are species that usually have ~10mm big workers with majors that grow larger than 40mm, specific fangs and an entirely weaponized head, or, on the other hand, tiny rear end workers that rarely exceed 2mm so they can carefully pet and feed the vulnerable larvae. In this case, however, we are talking of 2-5mm in differences tops.

The other day a fruit fly somehow managed to break into their enclosure and steal some honey. I wanted to throw her out again, but the ants actually were quicker than me. I managed to film the resulting battle between the fruit fly and that shift's patrol partially, check it out:
https://i.imgur.com/lttpU8P.mp4

You can see she holds her tight on the wings, which is not a coincidence, as she knows that flies can, well, fly. Stopping her from doing that is essential, so the patrol entered a stalking mode when she smelled the intruder, sneaked behind her and jumped onto the prey, holding down one wing to not let her get away. Then she tried to move her to the nest entrance to sound the "I've found some prey, come help me out" alarm (a different one than the one I trigger when I film them), which took a while. The fly is struggling hard and trying to use her wings to shake the ant off, but with no luck.
Shortly after I stopped filming two other workers came out to support her sister, sealing the flies' fate and eventually killing it with venom and their cutting mandibles.

I usually do not feed them live prey as for one, it's kinda a dick move for the victim as ants tend to not kill particularly quickly, and for two, insects (especially flies) can carry diseases and parasites, which is why I kill them beforehand and cook them in hot water, which due to the nature of an insect's exoskeleton disintegrates most harmful stuff that might sit on or inside of them.
Seeing this happen by coincidence was very exciting though!

Goons Are Great fucked around with this message at 15:08 on Apr 5, 2020

Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly



Uhh that video somehow got insanely big on imgur, no idea how to make that smaller as it embeds it automatically, sorry!

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




Goons Are Great posted:

Seeing this happen by coincidence was very exciting though!

understatement of the year!


thank you very much vanisher, x 2, and six for the loveliest handwriting ever

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owlhawk911

thank you for all the great ant posting, that video is brutal af. i wish i could've seen the end of the battle



sig by award-winning forums poster nut

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