User avatar
By Leafcutter
#304
I will be receiving a colony of Atta cephalotes either today or tomorrow. Queen and tennis ball sized fungus garden and up to 1000 workers. I have prepared a very costly setup for them and I just need to clip the heat cable on the back of the incubator and it will be ready.

Several pictures:

From this
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To this:
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And then to this:
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User avatar
By Leafcutter
#308
Oh nice, that's ideal. I've been thinking about getting some leaf cutters myself, I want something a little more interesting ha.

If you are interested email Andrew Stephenson who specialises in keeping leafcutting ants. He had small colonies of acromyrmex octospinosus for £65 last time I emailed him. His email is [email protected]. I have bought my attas from him, check ebay as he has some colonies for sale. He is in a BBC documentary about attas.

They are not as easy to keep as you think, they need constant 70-90% humidity and need a contant temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. That is just for Atta cephalotes, other leafcutting species are different. Acromyrmex octospinosus is cheaper and an easier colony to keep as they do not grow so big. Atta colonies can get up to 8 million strong!

You can follow my journal and see if you like them, I have spent over £400 on the setup including £135 for the colony itself!
Not cheap to keep :)
Last edited by Leafcutter on Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#355
Ants are now coming on Tuesday so I should hopefully have a video of them and plenty of images! :)
User avatar
By AKF
#360
fingers crossed

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By AKF
#414
Are congratulations in order?
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#415
antsy wrote:Are congratulations in order?


Well, I got an email from Andy this morning saying he missed the drop off time as he likes to allow the ants as little time as possible in packaging. He has sent them today and they should arrive tomorrow, before 1pm :)

The health of the Attas always comes first :)
User avatar
By AKF
#416
Cool glad he takes their health seriously, many others don't :(
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#423
The Ants have arrived!!!!

I had a quick peek at them inside and they look very active. There is lots of pupae and larvae and a tennis ball sized fungus garden as described. No sign of the Queen yet but when I do the transfer I will take some pictures of her. I saw a large soldier which was clambering to one side of the plastic container. It was huge! I haven't got my DSLR with me at the moment so I will not be able to take any pictures until this afternoon. But they look fantastic!!!!

I can't wait until I get home to put them into the setup, although there will be some angry soldiers :)
User avatar
By jonthefish
#427
It is a shame we cannot like individual photos. The photo with the rather large worker was pretty cool. Fingers crossed the colony ticks over nicely.
User avatar
By AKF
#428
jonthefish wrote:It is a shame we cannot like individual photos.


We can actually. Instead of uploading to the 3rd party source, you can upload to your own gallery here. Each photo can get it's own comments and likes.

Really great pics looking forward to reading the journals to go with them.
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#431
Well, they survived the night :)
I was so anxious this morning to see the ants so I woke up early at 05:15 am.

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Also, I have just put in some fresh privet leaves on the stem, they should start cutting soon. Lots of eggs and pupae can be seen; I saw a brown coloured pupa which should be eclosing soon :)
User avatar
By AKF
#433
HRH is a biggie. Lovely! :)
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By Leafcutter
#435
More images but the sphere is starting to get small amounts of condensation on it due to higher humidity.

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By Leafcutter
#440
Early morning update:

The ants seem to have been doing little cutting overnight but I can see the fungus is growing. I have three pictures for you guys today and I will only be able to update on Sunday a I am away at the weekends. If you zoom into the first image you can see the fresh leaf fragments in the fungus.

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User avatar
By Leafcutter
#446
Morning all. Here are a few images, one from yesterday taken by my brother and two this morning, taken by me.

They have been very busy over the weekend, collecting leaves. the fungus has grown in size considerably and looks amazing!

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I'm thinking of getting some seramis clay granules to increase the humidity in the fungus sphere.
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#455
Just got home and saw that there was condensation in the sphere and the ants were drinking the water. The plantain leaf has been accepted happily and it is being processed now, along with some privet leaves which have been dragged out of the sphere.

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I got some good ones today and I also edited one in photoshop to show some more detail :)


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User avatar
By Leafcutter
#456
Has been 1 week today, since I have had my Attas :)

Update:
The Attas have been processing the plantain leaf all night and the fungus looks like it has grown taller. They have also dumped some of the leaves outside in the tube that connects the sphere to the "Ant highway". They seem to be dumping waste in the foraging area and in the tubing. Although the majority of the waste is in the dedicated waste box. Will be doing a short video and lots of images today, hopefully. :)
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#484
They seem to love the privet leaves and are only taking plantain and privet at the moment. Since this colony is only small, they don't forage much but since I put the leaves in the second sphere next to the fungus sphere, they seem to be foraging a lot more.
User avatar
By Leafcutter
#500
Got several pictures for you guys:

I have been doing some photoshop editing to capture some of the interesting parts :D

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You can see how much the fungus has grown. Privet seems to be the only accepted leaf at the moment. They are proving to be the most interesting ant species I have kept (which was to be expected :D ).
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By Leafcutter
#536
Last few days I had a bit of panic as the fungus shrunk considerably around the sides, but now is healthier looking than ever.

Here are some pictures from yesterday:
Also they have blocked up the entrance now with substrate so I don't know how they are going to bring leaves into the sphere?

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User avatar
By Leafcutter
#539
jonthefish wrote:Are the Blue circles in some of the spheres used to block up some of the entrances?


I use the blue circles to block off some spheres so that the setup is not so "big" for them. It also helps because they can't dump rubbish in them :)

Hello, Would like to know more about your set-up. […]

Hi

@Hyperion found one