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#20291
Here's another picture. The larvae are growing nicely, as do the eggs.

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I replaced the straw with an even bigger one so they can carry the larger waste parts (superworm shells, cricket parts) into the outworld and dump them, which means I don't have to "invade" their tube anymore to clean those out.
That however required the removal of the cotton ball and the workers really don't like that. The workers became really agitated as expected, however the queen's reaction was sort of funny - she became slightly irritated at first then just walked up the wall so the workers don't bump into her all the time anymore.
She must be thinking something like "WTF why are these idiots panicking again" cause she doesn't really notice anything in her safe back chamber.
#20371
So while I was in the woods today visiting my favorite ant hills I took some time to catch a few wood spiders which were crawling over the ground since my ants love spiders so much.
After a dead frozen spider was put on the entrance area of the straw the worker quickly discovered it, grabbed it with a quite impressive jump attack and immediately pulled it through the entire tube into the nest's rear chamber where the queen and the larvae are.

Now usually the queen just waits patiently until the workers did their job sucking out whatever prey they brought in and then come around to feed her. Not this time. That spider was just to yummy.
It was pretty impressive seeing the queen sinking her huge mandibles into the spider's butt. It was like a T-Rex ripping through a goat.

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Oh, and the first larva started to pupate. Also the queen just laid another egg (probably more) during her dinner.
#20664
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Not much happening at the moment, they haven't even left their tube in over a week. In fact they did not even find the small feeder with the Sunburst.
On the left side you can still see something rather special though, a larva in the process of shedding it's skin.

Some new larvae have hatched and the egg batch has grown significantly as well.
They now count a queen, 4 nanitics, 2 pupae, 9 larvae in vastly different development stages and about a dozen eggs.


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Last edited by Serafine on Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#20689
Re-arranged the first post a bit (most of it went into the second one).
Now there is not only a complete food list but also a picture series of the colony's development.

beantalk wrote:your colony n mine start around same time. it seem bigger worker mean slower development

Well, Camponotus are really slow. They take weeks for every single development stage.
#20995
No one is lazy in Lazy Tube!

In fact some are so busy that they don't even get to make themselves a nice cuddly cocoon. Ladies and Gentleman we have a nude bat!
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The world outside Lazy Tube hasn't been lazy either. They are finally getting a proper home!
Ordered at Antstore on Tuesday, shopping lists says arena cover is out of stock and takes 1-2 weeks to deliver - package gets commissioned on Wednesday, sent AND delivered on Thursday.

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Here's a size comparison of their old and their new home.
[img=http://i.imgur.com/FApyamD.jpg]
Quite a difference, isn't it?



So... onwards to decoration! These are 2kg of sand-clay mix that will form the outworld bottom (I still have one bag left and will use it to give a very thin bottom layer to my soon-to-come acrylic nests).
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Behold, the Great Wasteland which will soon be home to Queen Barbarianna and her tribe of fearless warriors. It has to recover from this terrible mud sweep and dry out first though.
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#21079
They've moved in!

This is the last picture of them in their old setup. Those pupae should hatch soon. The naked one is already developing it's eyes.
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After using a heat lamp the new outworld finally dried out.
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New Setup without ants.
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After they've moved in (tactical towel to keep it shady).
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Took of the towel and lid for a few good shots.
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#21470
FIRST WORKER! (sort of)
There's at least one new worker, maybe more. It's hard to tell cause they have a talent to hide behind the cotton and inside the straw.

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Though I wonder where all these big larvae from last week have gone.



To celebrate this happy event they got a really big spider (the worker took quite some time to clip off half of the legs and drag it into the tube).
I also added another meat fly larva but it's probably too much and I don't expect them to take it in.
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#21491
So I had another look at them yesterday (just red light, no pictures) and the new worker is clearly not a nanitic. It's about a third bigger than the other workers and has already been promoted to a replete.

And it's true what they say, young Camponotus colonies don't travel far. I've marked their travel radius on the picture below and have never seen a worker further out that this. Now it might have to do with the facts that I usually place their meals right at the doorstep and that they're pretty overfed because I know that they have traveled further in their last setup. I'm pretty sure they will start scouting out their new home when the colony grows larger.

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#21517
Second new worker!
And I think she's a media. She is pretty huge.
In the first picture you can see her chewing on a spider.

Also I found out where the larvae/pupa had gone that where missing last week. They store those at the front end of the tube now. For some reason they started to pile them all up in the rear chamber when while I was looking at them (with just red light) so I waited until most of them were there before I took pictures. There might still be some at the front end I didn't see though.

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#21581
My new ant nests arrived!

They're from SimAnts, a small german manufacturer. Print quality is fantastic and they're modular, which means I can easily attach additional ones if needed.

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I gave them a base layer of sand-clay mix so the ants have an easier time walking inside and moistening them (will do this with my Antkit nests as well).

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I also got a few feeding dishes (different sizes) and two packs of jelly bears for free (I don't think they're meant for the ants).

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Adding the water tube was a bit of a hassle (tube is 15cm, nest entrance 14cm) but then I put some vinyl tubing to the entrance and attached the glass tube to that. It didn't hold perfectly (the back of the tube sinks down due to gravity) but the byFormica feeder packaging has just the perfect size to support it.

I already added the nest to the setup but I don't expect them to move in any time soon. They barely leave their test tube at all (which is okay, they're still a very small family).

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The colony is doing well, they have lots of pupae now. Those on the picture aren't actually all of them, I've seen a worker carrying one around at the front end so there may be more that just can't be seen.

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#21771
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Looks like most of the pupae are back in the rear chamber. I'm actually not sure if there's one or two more ants (the sizes somehow don't seem to fit, now 3 of them seem to look big) but it's hard to tell as some of them like to hide behind the cotton and inside the entrance.
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I've been out over the weekend and my room got a bit cold so today I decided to heat the setup a bit. My intention was to use a heat lamp to get the temperature inside the terrarium to ~28°C but then I forgot for it for about an hour and the temperature got up to ~31°C.
The ants... did this:
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They piled all the pupae inside at the entrance straw and a worker came out to take a sunbath. Later two of them walked around outside and inspected the area around the nest. They also cleaned out the entrance and pushed out all the debris.

The pupae were put back inside after I removed the heat lamp but I'm sure they liked it, so I'm gonna try to do this once per day now, if possible. It will hopefully help to speed up their development a bit, they're really on the slow side right now, even for Camponotus.
#22120
The ants are starting to discover their surroundings. The green area is the area that has been scouted (basically the entire setup with the exception of the attached nest), the red area (the tent and the glass above the nest) was visited most frequently.
Apparently the scouting worker prefers to walk on the paper and the vertical glass wall over working on the flat ground.
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There's now two workers foraging and they even come out during the day if it is quite shady. One of them is working on a piece of meat fly larva which was met with much enthusiasm (other than the last spider bits of which only one got taken in). They also spent much time making tiny sand pebbles to reinforce the wall at their nest entrance.
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The colony is doing well, you can see a lot of new larvae.I have no idea how many they are, I'd guess 8-10 workers, and about the same amount of pupae and larvae each.
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#22224
The family keeps growing! In fact Lazy Tube looks quite busy now.

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That yellow pebble is btw a second piece dried tree sap (the first one is at the entrance). One of the nanitics has outdone herself to get it into the nest (would have been easier if she hadn't tried to lift it over the side of the entrance).

They have been eating several meat fly pupae and larva bits over the weekend and yesterday I gave them a few tiny bits of ham which they seemed to like a lot as well.

All in all they're still fairly inactive with only two workers coming out when it's dark or at least very shady, but they have a good amount of brood (including eggs), so they're doing well.


andavane wrote:Any chance of a look at your room with the set-up? :)

The setup is placed on a table and the rest of my room isn't really noteworthy (and also a bit messy at the moment because I had to move a lot of stuff to get my camping equipment out for a trip I'm going on soon).
#22287
Look at that pile of brood!

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Yesterday I replaced the small feeder with a new one and seen them drinking from it as they are intended to do (and not just licking what was leaking out of the feeder due to me putting a heat lamp directly above it). It was quite hilarious, the ant was upside down and only the gaster looked out of the opening.

Also the ants (well, the two of them who actually do come out) have become quite agile and sporty. They're really fast and they can make jumps of about their own body length, both forwards and backwards (the flinch when a worker encountered the Kiwi was quite impressive, they really didn't like that kind of fruit).

Two days ago I caught a large spider in the floor and a worker has been busy dismantling it ever since (but only during night). Once there's a dead spider available all other foods become obsolete. There also was a smaller spider of the same species I added to the feeding dish and it was engaged with a very impressive jump attack, grabbed and immediately dragged into the nest. They really love spiders.
#22444
I have successfully managed to overfeed my ants! They haven't gone out at all for 3 days, but then yesterday they came for breakfast (which is unusual because usually they forage at night when it goes dark). It also may have something to do with the fact that I haven't heated them a lot in that time (the basin was mostly around 22°C so probably the brood developed a bit slower).

Here they are working on a big spider.
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This is a bit older but you can see how they drink from the byFormica feeders there. Sometimes they crawl in so far that only the gaster sticks out which looks quite funny.
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They're most likely 15 workers now, though I can't be entirely sure (there's 13 on the picture and 2 where out foraging at that time but there's always the chance that some ants/brood are hiding in the entrance area).
Activity is still rather low, two nanitics do all the foraging and a minor worker sometimes comes out to drink sugars but then they're really well-fed so why should they go out more if there's no need.
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#22514
Okay, so I forgot to mention that a few days before my last post I tried to feed them life food. There was a small harvestmen suddenly hanging from the ceiling right in front of my face and I smashed it immediately.
It wasn't instantly dead but it didn't look good, basically it just stumbled around a bit probably dying, so I though I'd do a little experiment and put into my ant feeding dish.

Well... it didn't go exactly well...
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The ant encountered the harvestman, realized it was still moving and went into full panic mode, running around aimlessly for about a minute (same for the arachnid) before returning to the nest. Later that night the harvestman died but the ants didn't eat it. Instead the worker carried it into a far edge of the outworld and dumped it there. I guess she was suspicious it might scare her again :D



Yesterday they got a big spider (caught it in the floor, it was dragged into the nest immediately) and a piece of ostrich steak they really seemed to enjoy (although they were mostly just licking off the fluids it but that's okay).
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The colony is still growing well, they get about 2-4 new workers per week. There's at least two pupae ready to eclose at the bottom left edge of the pile. They're a bit darker than the others because these ants eclose fully colored and hardened, I've never seen a brighter callow even when looking daily (this seems to be a common thing for european Camponotus species, I've seen journals where C. ligniperda does the same).
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There also must be a pile of eggs somewhere as can be seen on this picture shot two days ago but I can't find them on today's shots. They're probably stored in the entrance area as the quite recognizable media worker and 3-4 others seem to be missing as well.
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#22561
OMG!!! I FLOODED MY OUTWORLD!
(press F to pay respect to Mikey's clickbaity video titles)

Well, sort of.
I wanted to offer them a new test tube but the tube leaked and the entire water reservoir (30x200mm tube) ran into the arena. Took two days of heatlamping to get humidity down to normal (from 70% to 45%). The ants didn't care.
Tried again and this time it didn't leak. They found it, one worker was in there already but I don't expect them to move anytime soon, the water in their current tube should still be enough for about 1-2 months.
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Two days ago one of the workers spazzed out. Regarding the size it probably was one of the nanitics - she rain around then started to clean herself extensively to the point where she fell over and rolled around. I was actually getting worried she might have mites so I made a close-up of the colony but there's no mites anywhere.
I haven't seen that behavior since so I guess she might just have had a bad day. Though I wouldn't be surprised if some of the nanitics started to die soon, most of them are probably almost a year old.

They mostly come out in pairs now, even if it's not really dark.
Today actually one of them came out while the heat lamp was on, something that never has happened before. In bright daylight they look less orange than on the tube pictures but are more of a deep blood red. They're really pretty.

They got a HUGE spider I managed to catch outside only for them to ignore it entirely for two days until I dripped some water on it. Smaller spiders are still dragged into the nest immediately while most other food isn't really getting a lot of attention. For the last two days they've mostly been busy licking off the mess that's on the feeding dishes.
Oh, and my stupid ants have somehow managed to get sand INSIDE the Galileo feeders (even up into the bottles). They're a pain to unscrew now.
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I think more ants have hatched but there's no way to be sure because since it got warmer they permanently keep their pupae inside the straw, together with some of the workers. That media worker is still quite a monstrosity compared to the other ones though (not sure if there's a second media but I think I have seen a larger pupa).
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#22572
Well, I didn't plan to make an update this soon but here's (a small) one anyway.

Worker drinking maple syrup.
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Now that I'm not actively heating them anymore (the room is ~27°C anyway) they piled the pupae back into the rear chamber.
Just look at how fat they are. The two foraging workers are literally the only two ants in the colony that do not look like repletes.
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#22599
The ants are getting more hungry. I've even seen one of them out during the afternoon, scouting the area for food.
Their diet pretty much comes down to meet fly pupae and spiders, meat fly pupae get processed where they are found while spiders are taken into the tube to never be seen again (except for a few legs). Everything else is left untouched.
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The reason why they are hoarding food is probably the emergence of a few more workers - they're almost 20 now (probably 17 or 18, it's really impossible to tell).
And there's still pupae piled inside the straw as can be seen vaguely, so more workers will arrive soon.
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Also, MORE EGGS! They have two egg batches now.
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Finally, I've added a bit more stuff to their outworld for them to explore.
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