Saturday, December 5, 2009

Best of Ants 2009

For the past year I've taken an awful lot of photos. All of them depicting the themes of this blog, Ants, Bees, Butterflies, and Nature. So I thought I'd do a little recap for over the year. I'm breaking it up to each theme. Today is Ants. These aren't my best pictures but these are pictures of things I've learned.

Lasius claviger are easier to identify than the root aphids they herd around for food. The tomb used to identify aphids is a 2 volume series, each book being 1000+ pages and I'm told is almost completely without pictures or illustrations.

Though mom is fat she's easy to carry. Temnothorax curvispinosus colonies will band together over the winter. The following spring they all go their separate ways.

Ants can pollinate plants.

Myrmica fly in the Spring? I found winged ones last April/May. The odd part here is I've always known them to fly in the fall.

Paratrechina faisonensis like to shake their money maker. See video here.

Hoverfly larva don't care about ants protecting aphids. They'll eat the aphids and the ants don't care.

So many males and so few queens.

Prenolepis imparis move their colonies. Also unheard of but a lot of ants seem to do this when it's absolutely necessary.

Camponotus castaneus are thankfully easy to start. And thank god. So many species of Camponotus simply die after the first workers are born. And it's a complete mystery as to why. Second batch of workers are on the way and I'm almost ready to move one of the two colonies I have to new setups.