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Stoner Sloth


In that case I've DEFINITELY eaten aphid poop!



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

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SciFiDownBeat

be pretty cool to be an ant I think. I'd pretty much chill all the time. maybe I'd try to throw my pheromones into funny places to troll my coworkers

Manifisto




Goons Are Great posted:

After we had cowboy ants, let's do a quick post about farmer ants! Those are pretty much the most famous ants by far, you most likely already heard about it and especially our US friends here have surely met them a lot, since they are very common there and in many hotter parts of the world, even though they don't appear naturally in Europe at all: Leafcutter Ants, or actually the two genera Atta and Acromyrmex.
As the name Acromyrmex already obviously suggests, those ladies cut away grass and leafs. If you ever see ants carrying leafs around, those are the guys. As they are farmers, they always wear sun protection during work:


However, ants cannot eat leafs or any plant directly. Instead they do some major magic with it, similar to ant bread: They carry it back to their usually huge nests and carry it underground. There they cut it down into small pieces and place them carefully into farm chambers. In those farm chambers there the farming part happens:


The leafs are infected with a special fungus that only exists in those ant nests and the fungus happily growth massively, covering the entire chamber with itself. Since it is very vulnerable, the ants remove any other animals, fungi or plants and spread the entire chamber with a special liquid that is extremely toxic to almost any kind of life, except this special fungus. Also, as recent science has shown, apparently the entire body of those ants is covered with special bacteria that hinder the growth of other mushrooms while at the same time fertilize the one they want to keep.
They carefully cut away parts of it without hurting it too much and eat it. Even the many queens those colonies can have sometimes feels like getting a direct bite of it, of course with her trusty soldiers protecting her:


Since the fungus creates a ton of CO2 and other potentially toxic gases, they even invented a ventilation system that sucks out air from above and blows out the bad gases into the atmosphere.
I hope you think about this, when you see an ant road full of green leafs cut away by those hard working little guys!!

to these ants, this fungus must be the most delicious thing in the entire world

like when they get high and get the munchies, they don't crave ice cream or doritos or aphid poop, they look at each other and go "you know what would be really good right now? some fungus" and the other one goes "gently caress yeah"


thanks to kaiser schnitzel for the sig

alnilam

Postin in the springtime



speaking of fungi you know what's hosed up that one fungus that makes the ant want to crawl to the top of a tree and then it bursts out of the ant to disperse itself

Stoner Sloth


alnilam posted:

speaking of fungi you know what's hosed up that one fungus that makes the ant want to crawl to the top of a tree and then it bursts out of the ant to disperse itself

That said, many ants are fungus farmers - perhaps ants and fungus are engaged in aperpetual baddle of elemental forces that all works out in the end? Perhaps the ants wer inside of us all along?@@!>?



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

Kief Richards

PHANTOM QUEEN


alnilam posted:

speaking of fungi you know what's hosed up that one fungus that makes the ant want to crawl to the top of a tree and then it bursts out of the ant to disperse itself

ya i agree, its hosed up and imo p mean to ants


Stoner Sloth posted:

That said, many ants are fungus farmers - perhaps ants and fungus are engaged in aperpetual baddle of elemental forces that all works out in the end? Perhaps the ants wer inside of us all along?@@!>?

oh poo poo a coming of age roadtrip movie starring ants and fungus where they learn about friendship, hardship and symbiotic relationships in nature specific to microfauna!!!!!



alnilam

Postin in the springtime



Stoner Sloth posted:

That said, many ants are fungus farmers - perhaps ants and fungus are engaged in aperpetual baddle of elemental forces that all works out in the end? Perhaps the ants wer inside of us all along?@@!>?

woa..h..

Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly


alnilam posted:

woa..h..


Nosfereefer


alnilam posted:

woa..h..

Nosfereefer


ants

Manifisto





thants

Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly


Still in need of names for my buddies!! Suggestions so far:
Casey
Jamie
Ifo


Luvcow


Goons Are Great posted:

Still in need of names for my buddies!! Suggestions so far:
Casey
Jamie
Ifo

adam
reginald
reggie
regina
gina
roni
ronnie
pepper

Kief Richards

PHANTOM QUEEN



Thanks Manifisto



Kief Richards

PHANTOM QUEEN


Goons Are Great posted:

Still in need of names for my buddies!! Suggestions so far:
Casey
Jamie
Ifo


Luvcow posted:

adam
reginald
reggie
regina
gina
roni
ronnie
pepper

Sheena Easton
Sheila E
Appollonia
Quarto
Boniface
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Younger
Ted Cruz Zodiac Killer
Charlemagne
Ted Haggard
Neil Gaimant
Lil Boosey
Lil Wayne
Schoolboy Q
Rand McNally



Resting Lich Face

Further reading on the metal as gently caress ant fungus.

Luvcow


hamjobs posted:

Sheena Easton
Sheila E
Appollonia
Quarto
Boniface
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Younger
Ted Cruz Zodiac Killer
Charlemagne
Ted Haggard
Neil Gaimant
Lil Boosey
Lil Wayne
Schoolboy Q
Rand McNally

Kief Richards

PHANTOM QUEEN


I'm here and ready for the IdleRPG game we're gonna play by each living vicariously through an ant in the colony.



Resting Lich Face

Ant-igone

Kief Richards

PHANTOM QUEEN


Adam

Adam Ant



Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly


Those names are all rock hard, I love them. Going to antertaine myself by observing my guys for a while and see which one fits which ant the best! Maybe I can get some proper photo, too

Resting Lich Face

Four female ants named Mica.

Kief Richards

PHANTOM QUEEN


Archie, Veronica, Jughead, Betty, Gargoyle King, Dead Joaquin



xcheopis



Bucephalas
Agamemnon
Shadrach
Vitalstatistix

Manifisto




milk ape, weed rear end, rznv

spicy pete (for the most active/adventurous/feisty ant in the colony)

Kief Richards

PHANTOM QUEEN


Sexual Larry
Big Gay Todd
Friendly Neighborhood Maytag Man
Josten's
Little Igloo
Sand Shrew
Lettuce B. Friends
Karl Marx
Christopher
MyMelody



Stoner Sloth


Goons Are Great posted:

Cool poo poo about leaf cutter ants!

Lol - must have skimmed past this last night accidentally somehow, I personally think that it was the 60 abv gin and all those joints I smoked but we may never really know the causes.

Cool ants though, farmers AND air conditioning experts! Amazing.


Resting Lich Face posted:

Further reading on the metal as gently caress ant fungus.

I liked the bit at the end about another fungus attacking the zombie fungus especially. Like even the other fungi think zombifying our ant frens is wrong.

Also some pretty great names in here.

Also also some possible suggestions:

Super Saiy-Ant (for the ant that spends hours powering up but doesn't seem to actually do much)
Incompet-Ant (for the lovable screw up of the colony)
Jerry Seinfeld's Bee Movie, the Ant
Curly



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

Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly


I hope Queen Anne-t lays enough eggs so I can use all those names at some point.

Currently trying to figure out what to do the next effort post on, any favorites?


Barking Gecko

Mahoro says, "Naughty things are bad."

Goons Are Great posted:

I hope Queen Anne-t lays enough eggs so I can use all those names at some point.

Currently trying to figure out what to do the next effort post on, any favorites?

How about army ants? Their foraging behavior and their nomadic lifestyle are pretty interesting.

Kief Richards

PHANTOM QUEEN


Can you ask your ants about their opinions on a third Ant-Man?



Stoner Sloth


Barking Gecko posted:

How about army ants? Their foraging behavior and their nomadic lifestyle are pretty interesting.

Yeah, this sounds good - maybe one on driver ants too



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

Goons Are Great

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Here we go, let's talk about savage horse lords army ants!!
Also known as Legionary Ants, Wanderer Ants, Driver Ants or Horde Ants. As so often with insects, these terms do not refer to a specific genus or species, but to a collection of various subfamilies and genera that share this kind of behavior, however especially Ecitoninae, Dorylinae und Aenictinae, common in South and Middle America (sometimes also in the US, stay safe US friends!).

Full disclosure here, I wanted to add hats as well, but really, this might take a while. So instead this is also a trailer for a starcraft game.


This is actually quite fitting! Those guys are basically an ever-zerg rushing monstrosity that takes over terrans!
The "full army ants" (in contrast to other genera that have some similar tactics but don't do this) are entirely nomadic people. They constantly switch between two phases: Stationary and Wandering.
They begin wandering by sending out specific scouts that are fast and constantly laying out pheromone trails so others know where they went, usually they are guarded by specific soldier ants as well. They spread out and search for areas with a lot of food around, where "food" for those nerds is literally everything they can technically eat, which means small rodents, even certain birds and their eggs, but also to a big percentage foreign ant colonies that are in their way.
Once the scouts found something of value, they report back to the army and the entire colony starts moving there. Hundreds of thousands, sometimes tens of millions of ants start marching towards there and they overwhelm anything their sheer numbers can overcome, which for their habitat usually is pretty much everything. Also, those ants can be scarily big, some species are the largest ants in the world with over 5cms per ant!!
Their strategy involves splitting up the army into smaller groups that spread out and kill their prey, or a so called "swarm invasion" in which they start surrounding an area up to 20 meters across and then march inwards, obliterating everything in their path until they are united again, including burning down and raiding gigantic ant colonies that they happen to encounter, as they usually outnumber almost any other singular nests.

(honestly if anyone has a nice idea to photoshop those for fun, I'll happily edit it in!)


Once they got the food they wanted, they store it in their social stomachs and when sun sets, they build their nest. You may wonder, they build a nest every drat day? What an unchill life, but you don't know army ants!!



This is their nest. They build it literally out of living ants inside the army. It does not contain any other material other than living worker ants hugging each other, providing space for eggs and larvae. These mobile nests made of ants are called Bivouac.
"Okay, that's creepy, but whatever, I just hide on an island and they can't get me!!"
JOKES ON YOU!!



Those fuckers are able to build entire armadas out of their own bodies. They easily survive massive large-scale floods, overcome lakes and are even able to cross rivers, if the current is manageable. This works by having the lower ants in the water being constantly swapped out with those on top, so that they don't drown. As I mentioned before, ants do not have lungs, but trachea secured by spiracles, so that they can tolerate low-oxygen environment for quite a while before falling asleep.

This nomadic phase lasts for several weeks, with Bivouacs being build each evening. Then, when the larvae start to turn into pupals, the ants settle down in their mobile nests and the many queens get all the food the larvae got before. Now their ovaries massively expand (similar to those gigantic worm-like abdomens termite queens have, but less extreme) and they starts laying massive amounts of eggs in record time. As soon as the cocoons open up and the new ants start pouring out, the nomadic phase starts again and they pillage the next patch of land.

If you encounter those, run away!!


Resting Lich Face

One of the more exotic sights during the Hurricane Harvey flooding was the fire ant rafts.

Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly


Yeah, generally ants do this if in need, especially those species that tend to encounter floods and work their way through it, at least if they have the population to do so, like Fire Ants usually do. It's really exciting to see those things and I can only imagine what this looks like with ten million army ants doing it to cross water and invade some other land


Stoner Sloth


That would really suck to run into in a canoe or a kayak.

Must be an awesome sight from a safe distance though - pretty drat amazing creatures. Is it true that some of these species don't really make much use of venom but rather rely on their huge mandibles to just tear things to pieces? And how dangerous are they - have they ever killed anyone?



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

Goons Are Great

Please drink responsibly


That's right, those guys sometimes still do have venom and a venom stinger, but they rarely ever use them, they are mostly just relics of the past. The common army ant species Dorylus for example still does have a stinger, but does not produce any venom anymore, so they rarely just use it to pierce through their prey, which is clumsy, slow and ineffective compared to their mandibles, because look at the fuckers:



It seems likely that evolution will reduce the stinger at some point as well. Since this species does have clear biological distinctions between workers and soldiers, they are able to split up the workload biologically. The workers are a lot smaller, have more precise and smaller mandibles so that they can carry around eggs and larvae and move stuff around without breaking it. The soldiers however grow up to 54mm in length, do not have eyes and are almost entirely blind, as they can only differentiate between bright and dark. Their mandibles can be up to 10mm long, are razor-sharp and are extremely strong, they can easily cut through every kind of exoskeleton, including armored bugs, and also wouldn't stop for a second for human skin, which they can easily cut through. This goes for most mammals that don't have elephant levels of thickness on their skin.
Such bastards crawling over you in thousands will always lead to the stinger that sits on their butt to be entirely ineffective compared to them just taking a nasty bite. Prey that gets swarmed and overwhelmed is dead within less than a second and torn apart to its pieces in just a few seconds, which explains how they are even able to kill birds or medium sized rodents like mice and rats.

I did read rumors about those guys killing humans, but really, no substantial proof or actual news story that does not reference Indiana Jones somewhere below, so I assume those are more legends. Humans are by far too large for those ants to be considered as food, cutting us down and eating us would require an illogical amount of work compared to the food they acquire, not to say the danger that we could stomp out dozens of those guys with our feet. The math simply says no, it's not worth it, so I doubt any humans would ever been actually killed and eaten.
Now, attacked however that's a different thing. They regularly attack humans in their way and can lead to nasty injuries on the feet and legs if they consider you a threat, so better stay away from them or it will definitely hurt.


alnilam

Postin in the springtime



Goons Are Great posted:

look at the fuckers:



Ultralisks

Goons Are Great

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hamjobs posted:

Can you ask your ants about their opinions on a third Ant-Man?

I asked them and first got some defensive reactions with their venomous butts aiming at me, but then we sat down and they explained to me why Ant-Man's ant strength in ant form is more a legend than actual magic (comic fans correct me if I'm wrong on Ant-Man being strong, I don't know anything about superheroes )
My ants explained me that, in fact, ants are not super strong. Saying things like "They can carry stuff 100 times their size!!" is not wrong given the weight on an ant, and it is in truth amazing to think that a human should be able to carry like 8 tons of stuff, but that is also nothing true at all, because of math:
The mass of an organism grows with its size^3, while a muscle gains mass with the body's length^2.

Let's assume an ant of 10mm size and 10mg weight would grow 200 times, so that it's 2 meters long. The mass would grow by 8 000 000 times, which means 10mg end up being 80kg.
At the same time its muscles would grow 40 000 times - which means an ant of originally 10mg mass that was able to carry "hundred times it's weight" was able to carry an object of 1g in mass.
Apply this value to our 2 meter ant and it's able to carry 40kg - that's not really magic, that's regular strength in biology.

My ant then lifted my finger and put it into my nose, before she went off to dig again. I don't think they believe another Ant-Man movie is necessary, but that might be biased, as they didn't finish their ant cinema yet.

Goons Are Great fucked around with this message at 12:37 on Apr 9, 2019


Goons Are Great

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alnilam posted:

Ultralisks

I hope ants never gain an Overmind, or else we are hosed


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Stoner Sloth


From what I'd read strength is greatly multiplied by exoskeletons but they also provide certain inherent limiting factors in terms of growth - too many trade offs in terms of durability, flexibility, hardness, tensile strength, etc + the fact that regular discards of it are needed to allow further increases in size and it just looks inefficient in terms of energy requirements.

Cube square law obviously plays a huge role in shaping what's possible but beyond that exoskeletons wouldn't be an efficient system for large animals even without it, despite the fact that they give awesome mechanical advantage to smaller animals. Also because that size limit is lower than what would be necessary to use things like fire, I figure that intelligent insectoid aliens are probably sadly not possible IMHO.

Hope I'm wrong though cause that would be pretty awesome.



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

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