Minim Update 16
With the increased Atta activity and colony expansion, the ants have been exploring around the setup a lot more. A few weeks ago the ants decided to take advantage of the fact that I had not positioned the glass lid on top of the waste chamber properly. There were at least twenty media workers roaming around in the incubator
. I quickly picked them up with some cotton wool (well it took me an hour really
). This is the first escape I have experienced and it is not at all pleasant.
The fungus has been growing and shrinking a fair bit since that last update. About three weeks ago, the fungus filled the entire main sphere
. Then a week later it had shrunk to 2/3 of the sphere. Privet, bramble and ivy leaves have been the 'big thing' with the Attas; as usual they still prefer privet!
The big news is that there are many soldiers in the colony now, I managed to count four one day but on closer inspection there are a few more. I got a fairly detailed picture of a soldier on the fungus and she is freakishly awesome. I wouldn't like to experience the pain that the soldiers could cause though. (crazy mandibles!).
It has become increasingly hard to refill the foraging area with leaves. For this reason I closed off the foraging tank with a stopper I made two weeks ago. I did this a couple of hours after giving the ants an apple slice (to distract them of course
). I am considering a permanent moat in the system to make it easier to feed the ants. The waste chamber and foraging area have temporarily switched purposes as the waste chamber is sealed but the foraging area is not completely sealed. The ants have been very kind to me by dumping waste in the foraging area so I can empty it without major attacks from the ants.
The final thing for this update is the lack of humidity in the setup, apart from the main fungus sphere. I am designing a humidification system for some acrylic cylinders. Eventually I will replace the spheres with cylinders because they have a larger volume and the humidity system can only be implemented by having a flat bottom to the container. The ants have been trying hard to start a new fungus garden but due to the lack of humidity, the fungus fragments just dry up and die before it can establish properly. I will be writing a Work In Progress journal about the cylinder humidity system.
Enjoy the pictures guys