Rainbow Ant Colony (Part 3)

Rainbow Ant Colony (Part 3)


Hi this is Jordan updating you on my Iridomyrmex
bicknelli colony. It’s been around 5 months since my last update
and since then the colony has grown quite a lot. So much so that I decided to connect
up a third nest. They tend to favor the second nest I introduced to them back in my last
video, they pile up most of their brood here and it’s usually where I find the queen residing
too. I think it’s because this Species prefers relatively dry living spaces and I hardly
ever water this particular nest. I also set up another out world too, which
connects from the new nest through this long thin tube here. So the ants had a little more
space to forage, it also allowed for better ventilation throughout the setup as well.
Which is great for limiting mold growth. Here’s an overview of the whole setup. You can see
it’s getting quite big now. I had this colony housed in this particular
setup, with the 3 nests and 2 outworlds, for a few months and they were doing really well.
After much deliberation however I decided to actually release this colony. I’m planning on spending some time overseas
soon and with no one around to look after them and given they really require a lot of
attention, especially now because we are in our first month of summer here in Australia
and they’re going to be very active soon, so I thought it best to let the colony go. So what I did was place the entire setup out
in my backyard, unplugged all the tubes and just allowed the colony to venture off. This is
the first time I’ve ever released one of my colonies so I didn’t really know how the colony
would react. To my surprise almost immediately the colony
started to vacate all the nests. Initially they moved all their brood underneath the
nests and out of the sunlight. I then noticed there were many workers scouting around the
area looking for a more preferable nesting space than where they were. Not long after
I saw them scouting, trails were being formed with workers transporting brood. The main
trail led off towards this concrete slab here where it then disappeared into a crevasse
and One by one the workers moved in all the brood. I had raised this colony up from a single
queen over almost 3years ago now. The queen was one of the first I ever caught so it was
kind of sad seeing the colony go. But at the same time it was a really satisfying experience
watching them venture off into the wild having being confined to a relatively small space
for years. It seems as though they’ve found themselves a pretty decent nesting space too. So that’s the end of the update, and my final
one for this colony, thanks for watching this video and I hope
enjoyed.

Ants vs. Dragon’s Breath

Ants vs. Dragon’s Breath


Oh no! AC Family, looking into the nest now, it was completely empty. The Polyrhachis ants were all gone! What happened? And shortly after their disappearance, something absolutely
mind-boggling happened that left me speechless. What is this? Please subscribe to my channel and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family! Enjoy! Before we get to what this eerie mysterious
mist is that appeared floating on the waters of El Dragon last week, we needed to address
where our Polyrhachis ants went and what has happened leading up to this phenomenon. AC Family, you will want to keep on watching
until the end for this epic ant story! So, I have been showing our past few weeks
of videos of our Polyrhachis ants to my myrmecologist and ant taxonomist friend David General from
the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, a man who has dedicated his life to studying
and classifying ants of the Philippines. Needless to say, he has been super impressed
with our video documentation of some extremely eye-opening footage on these Polyrhachis ants
of ours which he said were greatly unstudied. As you saw in our video two weeks ago, David
first mentioned to me that the feeding ecology of our Polyrhachis semiinermis ants was unknown. They didn’t know what they ate or how they
ate it. We discovered in our video that the ants fed
on sweet liquids like honey, as well as insect parts. We were even amazed to discover that the queen
even leaves the comfort and safety of the nest to feed with her workers, which is quite
interesting and unique since the queens of most species rarely ever leave the nest unless
they absolutely need to. Finally, we even watched as a worker regurgitated
some strange black pellet before diving into a cockroach leg, meat from which it ripped
off during feeding. David was so intrigued by all of this and
said “Wow! Great work! You’re on your way to accumulating enough
observations for a behavioral paper! Does a paper in Insectes Sociaux sound interesting
to you?” I told him, not so much, but I allowed him
to use our footage in case he or his associates wanted to write that research paper, but our
only condition was he had to credit the AC Family! Can you imagine, that we together contributed
to science? Super cool, AC Family. But that’s not all! Over the next few weeks I was also able to
shoot some other pretty amazing things, new AC Family discoveries! Another thing Dave mentioned to me earlier
on was that “The biology of many Polyrhachis spp is unknown. In fact, i’ve never seen them bring solid
food to the nest. They somehow take protein in their crops home
to the nest.” Well, two weeks ago, I placed a small spider
near their nest and one worker came, picked it up, and brought it home! Bam! Another contribution to science from the AC
Family! And check out this Polyrhachis ant pooping! You don’t see that every day, and in literally
1 minute, the poop drop was gone! The tilladsia plant which absorbs nutrients
and water through hair-like structures called trichomes drank up that nutritious ant poo. I told this to Dave and he said: “There’s
a new paper proving ant plants are fertilized by ant poop on the leaves. Good show for the tillandsia!” And good show for us, as well. We just supported that paper. But one major thing, scientists have apparently
been wondering was which larval instar in these Polyrhachis ants produces the silk needed
to construct their leaf homes. You see, these ants use the silk webbing produced
by their larvae to glue leaves and debris together to create amazing nests in the leaves
of plants and similar environments. We saw this last week, when our Polyrhachis
were nest building. They took pieces of sphagnum moss and cotton
which we provided to them in a container back home to their nest to glue together and form
a cozy sanctuary for the queen and brood. But, allegedly, myrmecologists have always
wondered and haven’t had an opportunity to study the web building process of these Polyrhachis
ants. And so their big question was: Which stage
of larva creates the webbing? Now as a backgrounder, in these Polyrhachis
ants, there are 5 larval stages known as instars. The first instar being the smallest larva
and the fifth instar being the last and largest right before pupation. After our Polyrhachis ants moved perfectly
onto El Dragon Island here, I was really hoping to catch our ants nest building and help answer
that big question. But now, it seems our Polyrhachis have disappeared. Where could they have gone? I checked everywhere! I searched every plant, root area, and soil. I checked the waters for drowned ants. I saw none. Could our shrimps have eaten them that fast? Impossible that our new Rasbora fish ate them! They were too tiny! Did they escape somehow? It was all just so perplexing to me. I sat for a moment and stared into the beautiful
chaos of El Dragon’s landscape. Could the Dragon’s Curse from the days of
the Garden of Eden be back? No, this is impossible! This is a science channel! We don’t believe in curses.. Plus, even if it was, it just can’t be… This is a brand new tank, brand new era, brand
new home… Oh no! Brand new home..? AC Family, there is something that I did forget
to mention. Some of the soils used to create the island
in which El Dragon’s plants grow, were taken from the Garden of Eden. Perhaps our curse had indeed passed on to
these Polyrhachis? I stared at our dragon’s skull which was set
on the stone to appease the spirit of the great dragon who once lived in these lands… …and then it hit me! The skull! I looked into the Dragon’s Skull and low and
behold, our Polyrhachis ants were there nestled into the comfy hallows of one of the horns
and greatest of all, AC Family look! The workers were using a larva to spin silk
and glue debris to form their new nest gate! Wow! AC Family, we just solved the mystery! These Polyrhachis ants use the fifth instar,
the most mature larvae to spin their silk! High Five, guys! We just answered the big scientific question,
as well as our own mystery as to where our Polyrhachis disappeared to! But there was one final mystery left. What was that eerie mist that appeared last
week on El Dragon’s waters. Well, when I discovered the ants moved into
the skull last week, one of the things that concerned me was that the ants no longer could
benefit from the transpiration that naturally happens in plants. You see ants that build nest homes in leaves
benefit from the humidity that the plants give off during transpiration. Transpiration is the process by which moisture
is carried through plants from roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, where it
changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere. So, weaver ants like these Polyrhcachis have
natural humidifiers in their homes which is pretty darn cool. But in this completely dry skull, I feared
the ants might not be able to get the same amount of humidity as they would had they
lived in the plants. So, I decided to give them something to help
solve that. A fogger, which I placed on a timer to schedule
the creation of a mini mist every few hours, in order to give our Polyrhachis ants some
humidity support. Every three hours, a creeping mist like the
breath of a dragon covers the surface of the waters and keeps ambient humidity ideal for
our ants. Are you ready for this, AC Family? The best part about all of this: it obscures
the path and makes it hostile traveling ground for our pharaoh ant interlopers. If any of the pharaoh ants get too close to
the mist, they have a high chance of falling into the water and being eaten by our mosquito
rasbora fish. Many pharaoh ants now turn away when the mist
blows in. I loved watching the mist floating on El Dragon’s
waters, which by the way, thanks to your votes is now officially called the River of Dragon’s
Tears. As for our shrimp colony living in the waters,
they also officially have a name. You named them the Leviathans. I like those names! And of course, last week you guys voted for
an official name for our Polyrhachis ants, and AC Family, I am happy to announce these
ants are now called the Black Dragons. Thank you guys for always being so enthusiastic
at participating in these ant videos, and for being a huge part of their fate. Thanks to you, we contribute to the ants’
success and as we’ve seen in this video, to some amazing discoveries in science. It seems our Black Dragons which continued
to work through the night building their new nest in the skull of El Dragon will be ok. We’ll just have to keep providing them with
everything they need and hope they succeed. This El Dragon paludarium setup was such a
huge success. It made me look over to our Black Dragons’
neighbours, the Golden Empire in their Hacienda Del Dorado. Our Yellow Crazy Ants have been living in
this terrarium for over a year. Look at all of that chaos! The Hacienda Del Dorado was in desperate need
of a makeover! We also had to find another way to deal with
their exploding population, and I had just the renovation to solve both those problems. AC Family, behold. Alright, AC Family! Are you excited for what’s up next for our
Golden Empire? These Yellow Crazy ants are up for a royal
renovation and I can’t wait for you guys to see what I’ve done! Tune in next week to catch how I turn their
current overrun terrarium into one of the craziest ant setups I’ve ever created in all
my years of ant keeping! You won’t want to miss it so hit that subscribe
button and bell icon and hit the like button every time, including now! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you would just like to watch some extended play footage of our scientific
discoveries as well as our ground-breaking discovery of the Black Dragons spinning silk
using their fifth instar larvae! Spread the word, the AC Family saw it first! Before continuing to the AC Question of the
Week, I wanted to plug my new daily vlogging channel, featuring my daily vlogs for those
wondering what I work on between these weekly ant videos! And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last week we asked: How do beneficial bacteria
help keep fish alive in an aquarium? Congratulations to, and note this was completely
a random selection, Ant Love Forever who correctly answered “The fish’s waste makes toxic ammonia
which is converted by bacteria into nitrite and then again into nitrate.” Congratulations Ant Love Forever, you just
won a free e-book handbook from our shop. In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: List any of the ant scientific
discoveries we made in this video. Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free ebook handbook from our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, & SUBSCRIBE
if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

Ant War or Supercolony: New Yellow Crazy Ants

Ant War or Supercolony: New Yellow Crazy Ants


Ooh, oh, oh.oh Whats up AC fam? Welcome to another episode of Ants Canada ok so you know your life has been taken over by ants when this work desk used to be used for working but now its just a land full of ants countries we have of course the Fire Nation, our red tropical fire ants we’ve got our black crazy ants over there yet to be named, soon and yes yet another mini ant world right there, waiting to be populated yes AC fam! we’ve got a new ant colony and this video will truly blow your mind today were gonna break the rules a little bit, attemping something that all ant keepers know you shouldn’t do today were mixing two ant colonies…. Together! we’ll be taking this small tube queen ant colony and combining them with this huge single queen ant colony of the same species now in most cases this isn’t allowed because they’ll fight to the death even if they are the same species you see unrelated ants will engage in an ant war so why on earth are we doing this? breaking one of the principle rules of ant keeping well its because these ants are rule breakers them selves introducing the world famous Yellow Crazy Ants Anoplolepls gracilipes which are known to form super colonies and combine colonies together and when i try to combine the two unrelated colonies the result shocked me will they fight to the death? or will they be kind and join forces it’s time to find out! you won’t want to miss all the crazy ant action ahead, so watch until the end of this video AC family meet our new yellow crazy ants here at the Ants Canada ant channel now, one of my favorite parts of having an ant colony is creating their home. as the ants keeper, we are the initial designer of their universe so what you house your ants in is super critical i’m placing my hand here at the back for size reference i’ve chosen to house my new ant colony in an “AC outworld” designed naturalistic-ally with an AC field and forest biome kit. i’ve created a sort of rocky slope, with a biome kit hardening ground plate into which connects the tubes which lead into their AC hybrid nest. and if you look just beside the outworld You’ll see the fire nation Just an inch away I’ve chosen to use the Large AC Camponotus Hybrid Nest for these ants And yes, its the size lodge Now by the way i know alot of you have been waiting for so long for our hybrid nest larges to come back in stock, And i’m happy to announce that they’ll soon be available again And in a Size even larger than this one shown in here Alright now let’s check out our new yellow crazy ant Colony A So here’s the story. A friend of mine contacted me here in the Philippines asking if I wanted to have a small yellow crazy ant colony with 2 queens and about 9 workers. Now yellow crazy ants have always been my dream species, so of course…I said yes. Take a look at them guys, aren’t they so cool? Look at their color! I find yellow crazy ants to be more of an orange-ish gold color but in the sun, they shine a bright yellow. I just love them so much, they’re such beautiful ants and the coloration of the queens is just gorgeous! Now Colony A here is a very small colony As you can see, there’s just a few workers They’ve pulled a little bit of the cotton to kind of make their nesting area a little more comfortable And over there, you’ll see a little batch of eggs. So my idea for this great colony mixing, was to connect Colony A’s test tube directly into the hybrid nest. Alright, now let’s take a look at Colony B. So that same friend who gave me Colony A messages me up and says “Mikey, I caught an even bigger yellow crazy ant colony and this time it’s got 1 queen but hundreds of workers and a lot of brood all in a plastic jar”. He asked if I wanted it. Now I had every intention of simply raising a big colony from just Colony A but I remember hearing that in the wild, unrelated colonies of yellow crazy ants would sometimes merge into a single colony. To join forces. In the world of ants, the faster your colony can grow numbers, the higher chances of success of the colony so colony fusion is a great bio strategy for certain ant species. Yellow crazy ants allegedly being one of them. So after some thought I decided to go for it. I knew there was a danger that Colony A would totally be killed but if my hunch was correct, and the rumours were true these two colonies would merge. And so my plan was to shine a light onto this jar, get it all bright and hot so the colony would be bothered and then I would attach this tube to the jar. If everything goes well, the bright lights will cause the ants to move into the outworld and then eventually find the hybrid nest. Now as for Colony A, again, I plan to attach them right here. [sigh] Ok AC fam…here we go! The moment of truth. Let’s cross our fingers guys and hope this doesn’t end up in a huge ant bloodbath. Attaching Colony A to the hybrid nest…now. And now, time to attach the jar of Colony B to the outworld. [sigh] Ok, here we go! Wrapping some cotton around… and I’m going to unplug this hole here… Oh! It’s too small! I’m going to have to use a smaller tube I guess Put that back there.. Such processes are often just kind of ad lib… on the fly. It looks like Colony A isn’t really making a move into the hybrid nest yet. Ok now I’ve got a smaller tubing which attaches to this larger tubing Let’s see if this fits. Perfect! Ok and now the next step is to unwrap the jar so we can expose the colony to the bright lights. Wow, look at all those ants! And now all we gotta do…. is wait. All it takes is just one ant to move through this tube and discover that there’s a more suitable place for the colony to be. Check out the exciting process! Come on…come on.. There we go! We have our first brave wanderer. And it wasn’t long before it came back to tell the colony. “Girls!” “Follow me!” “I found a great place for us to move to” But sometimes, no one listens the first time around so she heads back to tell the others to really listen and to follow her. And Sure enough eventually one of her sisters makes the decision to follow her. So this starts a whole chain reaction of ants returning back to the colony letting them know they found a cool location for everybody to move: a place that’s not so bright and perhaps not so hot. More and more ants are coming now. And they’re carrying the brood! This is awesome! The move of Colony B has officially begun. Right now, it seems the ants are just leaving all of the brood in a pile at the bottom of this tube but it’s inevitable that one of the workers will be adventurous enough to discover the outworld. Like a lone explorer on a new planet, the ant begins to scope the area. This worker ant is super excited! And wow! Did you just see that? It ran in a circle! The ant is just thrilled to be able to discover this new land and it rushes back to the rest of the colony to let them know there’s a whole new world, just beyond the tube. Some people doubt that ants have emotions but there’s a lot of evidence that insects actually do experience happiness and excitement and you guys just saw that yellow crazy ant’s happy circle dance right? The process of moving for Colony B continues with more workers dumping more of the brood into the tube and more explorers scoping the outworld. Imagine what it’s like for these ants having the opportunity to explore a new area with new smells new ground, new everything? Their sole purpose right now is to find a suitable location for the colony to nest and it looks like the tube is getting a little congested now and will make a suitable temporary nest for the time being until these surveyor workers find a nest and it’s only a matter of time until they discover the hybrid nest which lies just beyond another hole on the other side of the outworld. Still no signs of Colony A wandering out of their founding test tube. I’m watching them like a hawk. With the ants in the tube, we can get a better look at what the colony looks like. The scientific name of yellow crazy ants is Anoplolepis graclipes Don’t you guys just love the sound of that name? I love it! It sounds like gold running off the tongue! Though they’re commonly called yellow crazy ants, they’re not in the same genus as our black crazy ants whose scientific name is Paratrechina longicornis. Yellow crazy ants, like the black crazy ants, get their name from their fast, erratic and explosive movements. For me, yellow crazy ants are slightly quicker but that could be because yellow crazy ants are twice as large as black crazy ants. Also like black crazy ants, yellow crazy ants have polygenis colonies meaning there are multiple queens per colony. Colony B here, has one queen seen here. She’s hiding there in the pupae. She’s not a fan of our camera lights. And also with a clearer view of the colony through the tube I do see the remains of a dead queen that they’re dragging around as if she’s still alive. I wonder if the workers develop a biological attachment to their queens. Could this be evidence of a form of ant grieving? Of ant love? Now if Colony A and B do happen to join forces, this colony will be a 3 queen colony. But I still have my fears that Colony A will be attacked. Oh no Look here.. The first scouts discovered the hybrid nest. They begin searching around the hybrid nest and it seems they’ve picked up a scent of Colony A nearby. And it’s not long before one worker enters the tube that leads to Colony A’s founding test tube Watch what happens. The worker from Colony B approaches the entrance.. with caution. And then… contact made. The scout from Colony B rushes back to the colony! and surprisingly, the workers of Colony A instantly go to follow that worker and join the colony along with some brood! In fact, it was as if the colony just picked up their stuff and headed out to meet the unrelated colony. Including the queens! And what shocked me the most, was how Colony B responded to Colony A’s 2 foreign queens. Queen 1 was met with a lot of force and she struggled to fight off the workers. I panicked. Were they killing her?! Surprisingly though, Queen 2 was met with much tenderness with a very different attitude. The unrelated workers of the new colony surrounded her and began cleaning her and massaging her gently. The greeting was so beautiful and tender. And seeing this, I decided to not to interfere with the interactions happening with Queen 1. I had a small feeling that this was normal interaction, part of an instinctual yellow crazy ant ritual perhaps. I watched both queens and couldn’t believe how opposite their receptions were into the colony. The really opposite dispositions was just so bizarre. With the colony completely moved out of the jar, I connected the tube back to the hybrid nest. so all the ants and the brood in the tube were then moved into the hybrid nest including the queen from Colony B. Now as for the queens of Colony A, the workers were interacting with them. Just as quickly as the ants moved out of the jar and into this tube, the colony moved from the tube to the hybrid nest. They were very efficient. And as usual, I’m going to leave a hidden cookie for you guys here, if you just wanna watch ants moving into the hybrid nest. Exclusively for all you inner colony members. Wink! So it seemed the workers were prodding the queens of Colony A into these holes to move them into the nest. I think they’re officially joining forces. Poor Queen 1 though. She is not having it. It seems the colony has bigger plans for her. And just like that, all the brood, was moved into the hybrid nest. There’s Queen 2 being ushered to the nest. Quite peacefully. And there’s Queen 1, just kicking and screaming along the way. They’re dragging her into the nest whether she likes it or not. And then it occurred to me. These workers weren’t killing this queen… they were subduing her and almost turning her into a slave. An egg laying slave. And it reminded me that in the ant world queens unlike humans, aren’t the leaders of the colony. They’re equals And I guess in some species like these yellow crazy ants, slaves. It was time to leave the colony alone and allow them to acclimate. Alright guys, this video has gone so long now and so we’re going to have to do a part 2 to this video. So AC Fam, tune in next week where we get to see how these ants are doing, and how they’re adapting to their new home and of course, how the new queens are adapting to their new colony. Our new yellow crazy ant super colony that is! And of course guys, as always, you guys are going to name them so start leaving your suggestions in the comment box and don’t forget to give a thumbs up to any suggestions that you really like! I’ll pick the finalists and then you guys will vote in a future video. Thanks so much for watching another episode of the AntsCanada Ant Channel! Until next week AC Fam, it’s Ant Love Forever. Alright guys, we’re not going to end this video without the AC Question of the Week so last week we asked: “What is the name of the process in which ants transfer food to one another from mouth to mouth in a “kissing action?”” Congratulations to Moty Games! who correctly answered “Trophallaxis” Moty Games, you just won a $50 gift card to our shop! And now for this week’s question of the week: This week we ask: “Name 1 difference between black crazy ants and yellow crazy ants besides their colour.” Leave your answer in the comment section and you could win a free e-book from our shop which is a complete handbook on ant keeping complete with care sheets nuptial flight schedules and ant glossery. Thanks so much guys for watching another episode of the AntsCanada Ant Channel Don’t forget to subscribe because we release a video every single Saturday at 8pm Eastern Standard Time and we give away free ant prizes in every episode. Also be sure to visit us at Antscanada.com Hope you continue to watch these videos because these ants here on the AntsCanada ant channel are also your ants as well See you later AC fam, it’s Ant Love Forever!

Winter is Coming For These Argentine Ant Invaders | Deep Look

Winter is Coming For These Argentine Ant Invaders | Deep Look


Once upon a time, the Argentine ant seemed invincible. Why? Well normally, ants in different colonies
of the same species fight each other to the death for territory and food. But take an Argentine ant from a colony in
Japan, or Spain, or from your kitchen, put ‘em together and… Nothing happens. They recognize each other by smell. Just like
these nest mates. Worldwide, Argentine ants act like a huge,
international super colony. Countless nests, each home to hundreds of
queens, producing millions of highly disposable workers. Massive Argentine ant super-colonies are spreading
all over the globe, overwhelming local ant populations. They can take down much bigger ants. Like
this harvester. The tiny Argentines throw themselves at their
enemy. Exhaust her. Then slowly pull her apart. They seemed unstoppable. But there’s more to this story. The Argentine ant has an Achilles heel. At Jasper Ridge, near Stanford University,
Nicole Heller has been tracking ant populations since the late 1990s. She wanted to know, how long would it take
for Argentines to completely overwhelm the native species here? One year? Five? But it didn’t happen. To her surprise, one native species was actually
thriving behind enemy lines. The winter ant. Winter ants aren’t much bigger than Argentine
ants. They aren’t much stronger. But they have a secret weapon. Put Argentine and winter ants together near
something they both want, like this cotton ball soaked in honey. See how the winter ant aims its abdomen at
the Argentine? And that little white dot appears right at the tip? And how the Argentine scurries away? No one had ever seen this before. In fact,
as far as we know, this is the first time anyone’s caught it on camera. No one knows yet what exactly it is, but this secretion can repel, even kill, those Argentine workers. At Jasper Ridge, this little drop has been enough to halt an implacable invader’s march toward world domination. Hi, it’s Amy. See how these ants all tap
each other when they go by? Well when ants touch antenna, they’re not
just exchanging information…they ARE the information. They switch jobs based on how
many other ants they run into doing the same thing. Join our ant army. Subscribe. Tap that button and we’ll let
you know about our next episode. Thanks for watching!

I Gave My Fire Ants a Monitor Lizard

I Gave My Fire Ants a Monitor Lizard


OMG! Once again, I can’t believe what I managed
to film this week. What do you do when your friend who owns a
pet store calls you up and says he’s got a new animal corpse to give you? Well, logically, you take it of course, and
offer it as a gift to your massive pet fire ant colony! Meet the Fire Nation, undoubtedly my most
ravenous, meat-hungry, prolific, and aggressive ant colony of my Ant Room. Time and time again, they’ve torn up and eaten
every single animal I’ve placed into their territories: a hamster, a cockroach Christmas
Tree, a bird-eater tarantula, a chicken head, and even a mouse! And so, AC Family, this week, next in line
for them to devour was something they’d never before had, and what they ended up doing to
it, will leave your jaw on the floor, just as it did mine! You’ll see exactly what I mean at the end
of this video! Brace yourselves, everyone, as we enter the
hot Selva de Fuego, the epic paludarium kingdom of the Fire Nation fire ants, to place some
dragon meat into the fire, here on the AntsCanada Ant Channel! Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel and hit the
BELL icon. Welcome to the AC Family! Enjoy! Welcome everyone to the Selva de Fuego, the
Amazon river jungle territories and long term home of my fire ant colony called the Fire
Nation. The Fire Nation, a governing colony of red
tropical fire ants, whose species is known to biologists as Solenopsis geminata, is not
one to play around, particularly on this special night when they decided to have a full out
nuptial flight in their enclosure. Virgin queens and males emerge from the nest
in hopes to breed and start new fire ant colonies of their own. We saw in a previous video how they attempted
to fly and mate, but thankfully weren’t actually mating for some reason, perhaps because conditions
weren’t right or they naturally don’t mate with their own siblings. Thank goodness, though because I don’t know
what I’d do if more colonies of Fire Ants, born from the Fire Nation here, began to spring
up in my home. I’d literally probably end up being eaten
alive, something many of you have either joked about or expressed legit fears of in the comments! Fire ants, which hail from the tropical jungles
of South America happen to be top predators in the ecosystems they are part of, as well
as very important scavengers. They devour insects, other invertebrates,
the unlucky rodent and bird. Any person who’s had the misfortune of being
stung by these ants, like yours truly every single time I work around them, can testify
that they are definitely ants that mean business! They can quite easily conquer any unsuspecting,
injured, or dead animal and reduce it to bones. This used to be a mouse! So, guys, you’re about to see this incredible
process now. I have a great gift for the Fire Nation as
a sort of celebratory sacrifice and thank you present for graciously deciding to forego
breeding in my home. This is going to be crazy! AC Family, behold! A fire breathing dragon! Well okay, it’s a monitor lizard. It’s just a juvenile and it happened to have
passed away at my friend’s pet store. The carcass is pretty impressive itself! It’s entire body was covered in very tough
scales, so it was going to be interesting to see just how the Fire Nation was going
to burrow into this thing to get inside! My guess was it was going to enter through
the eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. Alright, AC Family, are you ready to do this? Let’s get to it! 1 – 2 – 3! I fixated the monitor lizard atop the entanglement
of branch work just above their main mothernest, trying my best to work quickly before the
swarm came. There we go! And now to watch the magic happen! The fire ants immediately began to board the
monitor lizard, inspecting its peculiar scales that covered its whole carcass. This was the very first time these fire ants
had ever come in contact with a reptile or tasted reptile meat, so naturally, they rushed
to the scene excitedly, ready to chow down on some dragon flesh! Fire ants raced in from all areas of the territories
to check out the new bounty that had fallen from the skies. And so began the great dissection! Wow! Check out that super major using its jaws
to bite off a scale. It seemed like that was the primary objective
at the moment! Bite into the softer areas of the skin between
the scales. More and more reinforcements arrived on location
to help with the dissection. Isn’t it amazing watching all the ants cooperating
at finding a weak spot in the leathery skin of the lizard? I knew that as soon as one of these ants found
a way into this giant lizard carcass, it would surely let the others know of the gateway
it had discovered to their grand draconian feast! One hour later, it was clear that the biggest
talk of the kingdom was now the monitor lizard carcass we had given them. Have a look! Even ants from the neighbouring satellite
nests had formed trails to and from the great dead dragon, which would provide the colony
a tonne of nourishment for days to come. Look at that swarm of ants all trying to get
in. So what do you guys think? How many days do you think it will take the
Fire Nation to finish this lizard? Leave your guesses in the comments and go
back to it later to let us know if you guessed right! Now wanna hear something cool, AC Family? The reason why all this meat is super valuable
to the fire ants is because over the past few months leading up to breeding season,
a great deal of the protein the ants collected in their diet was used up to create the alates,
the virgin queen and male reproductives which generally speaking are quite nutritionally
expensive for the colony to grow and upkeep. I mean look how large they are compared to
the other regular ants. The alates require a lot of food and particularly
protein, and so for months the colony had to invest a great deal of their protein collection
into these alates. But now that breeding season is coming to
an end, the Fire Nation producing these nutrient-demanding reproductives is no longer a priority, and
all protein acquired from the ants’ diet can once again, go towards feeding the queen as
usual so she could pump out more eggs, as well as all the larvae of the colony, so they
can grow into adult worker ants as quickly as possible, growing their numbers more and
more! And that AC Family, is why these fire ants
are eager to get into this massive lizard body. They are all on a mission to grow their nation
even bigger and more powerful. I resolved to let the ants feed in peace and
come back later to check up on their progress. I was riveted at the sight of the workers
all working hard with their mandibles to penetrate the lizard’s thick leathery skin. Check it out, AC Family! Through the night ants were busy making their
way to the lizard from the nest hoping to bore a hole into the carcass so they could
finally start feeding. Some late flier alates had decided to emerge
from the nest tonight, to hopefully get their last shot at nuptial flying, but the workers
clearly had their minds on just one thing, and it wasn’t catering to these alates. They wanted in, and the workers were not going
to stop until they were! It was just amazing to watch the night shift
at work! I had a feeling it wouldn’t take the fire
ants much longer to create that hole into the lizard’s body. Could you imagine being one of these ants? Normally they would be working in complete
darkness here, but regardless of an absence of light, they all still are able to work
as effectively as they would in the day. If you were wondering if ants sleep, yes,
they take short few minute naps several times a day and adjust according to work load demand,
and tonight it looks like a lot less ants will be napping here in the Selva de Fuego,
and that’s how it will be until the lizard is finally consumed. Perhaps that would be by morning? I went to bed and when morning came, you guys
won’t believe what I woke up to when I came back to check up on them the next day. A swinging arm?! Was this a zombie lizard? Obviously, not, but the fire ants had not
only managed to burrow into the lizard’s body over night, but were now in the limbs gnawing
at the joint of this arm, making it move! How gruesome! In fact, looking at the lizard’s body, the
ants had successfully managed to burrow into several places of the lizard’s torso. Whoa! Oh, they’ve eaten the back legs and were feasting
on that tail. And, I was right! As expected, the fire ants did manage to burrow
through the lizard’s eyes, nose, and ears. Hope you guys aren’t eating right now, but
look at that rib cage! Wow! They were eating through the lizard’s lungs
now and had ploughed a huge gaping hole right through to the other side. Appendages had been almost entirely stripped
of flesh. And it seemed the majority of the meat now
lay here in this section of the gut and base of the tail. Mmmmmm! And guys check out this bird’s eye view! From the top, you could see that the ants
had been busy eating holes through the lizard’s body through its back. Whoa! You could totally see its spine and rib cage! The Fire Nation are just savages! As gross as all of this was, it was amazing
to see the ants working into the carcass in such detail with my 4K camera. Again, take a moment to imagine being one
of these ants, with your face and body, thorax deep into the rotting flesh of this smelly
lizard carcass. But for these ants, this is gourmet, and a
dish they’ve never before tasted! If you were one of these ants, you’d be rejoicing
at the smells and flavours, because this is utter heaven to your fire ant palatte! So how were they bringing all the food back
to the nest? Well, ants came rushing up the branches following
a very thick pheromone trail laid down by thousands of ants before it, and came to the
carcass to gorge themselves on the lizard meat. Now here they had two options. One was to simply feed and fill up the first
of their two stomachs, i.e. their social stomach. Once their social stomach was full, they could
return to the nest and distribute the food by regurgitating its contents into the mouths
of other ants, the queen, and larvae. Or the other option, was to get your mandibles
around a fat chunk of meat, dislodge it from the carcass using your mandibles as a saw,
and carry the lizard meat nugget home for further processing. It’s a bit of a trek down back to the nest
carrying the huge chunk in your mouth, but you do get to bring back more meat home than
if you were to stuff your social stomach. And look! They’ve begun creating piles of lizard meat
chunks on the surface of the nest. I suppose it’s a quicker system to just dump
what you’ve carved out of the carcass into a pile for others to carry into the nest,
so you can rush on back to the site to carve out more lizard meat chunks. Let’s see if the lizard would be completely
finished by night! Right now, it seemed the fire ants were making
good time on this major operation. It wasn’t going to be much longer now. The ants worked fastidiously through the night,
carving out the remaining meat from the lizard. I forgot to mention that the Ant Room stank
of decaying flesh throughout this entire process since day 1! It was disgusting for me to smell, but I’m
sure it was heaven for these ants that relentlessly worked through the night to feed on the lizard. It was important that the ants process this
lizard meat as soon as possible, to ensure other thieves don’t try to take it from them! With a carcass this smelly, it would surely
attract birds, other reptiles, insects, and even other ants, but the Fire Nation would
be ready to defend this bounty at all costs! And based on my experience, nobody messes
with a huge colony of fire ants, not wild ants, not geckos running loose in my home,
not even flies! There were no maggots found on the carcass
at all over the past 2 days, which meant the fire ants were diligent at shooing the flies
away! Had this been a sole decaying lizard without
the Fire Nation eating it, this would have been riddled with maggots by now! It was also interesting to see alates at the
carcass, probably still hoping to mate. The piles of lizard meat were growing in size
now, and I was certain that by morning, this lizard would be completely done with. Day 3. I approached the Selva de Fuego to check up
on the state of the lizard. Very few ants were on site now, which meant
the ants had pretty much finished what they could from the lizard’s body. The body cavity was completely hollowed out
now, with only some skin and bone left in place. The legs were reduced to bones. Remaining scavenger workers did their best
to scrape every little last bit of meat they could. In nature, the remaining decaying parts inedible
to the ants, would have been further broken down by soil creatures, fungi, and microbes,
but regardless, watching these fire ants reduce this lizard carcass from this to this, was a spectacle I would never forget. What did you guys think of this process? Was it gross or cool? Or both? What other things should I try feeding the
Fire Nation? The surge of protein from this lizard will
nourish the colony for days! The larvae will grow fat and extra quick,
and the Fire Nation’s egg-laying queen will be able to produce and lay extra eggs, and
the Fire Nation will continue to reign supreme in these tropical Amazonian lands. The droppings and leftovers of the ants will
go on to nourish the plants of the Selva de Fuego, and continue the cycling of nutrients
within this contained ecosystem, whose members are all interconnected and interdependent. It’s no wonder ants happen to be among the
most important scavengers and predators in the ecosystems they are part of. The Fire Nation will always be my favourite
ant colony of our Ant Room, and as long as you guys continue watching these ant videos,
participating in the polls, and helping me with decisions that ultimately affect their
individual fates, this ant keeping journey will always be sacred and extra special! Thank you AC Family, and until next week,
it’s ant love forever! AC Family, did you enjoy today’s episode? I couldn’t believe we were able to film what
we filmed today! Another epic ant story up ahead next week,
so you know what to do! Smash that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON
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single time, including now! It would really help a lot! Speaking of ants, it’s approaching the end
of nuptial flight season in the Northern Hemisphere, and a lot of you are catching queen ants now,
and in case you didn’t know, we’ve got all the top of the line ant keeping gear for you
ant keepers at all levels from beginner to advanced, as well as a tonne of new and exciting
products for the ant keeping community not available anywhere else, so head on over to
AntsCanada.com, and browse through our shop. We ship worldwide, and offer full email support
if you need us. We also have ant colonies with a queen available
in most regions, so go check us out and pick up your ant farm kit and ant gear today! If you’re new to the channel, and want to
catch up on all your AntsCanada Lore, feel free to binge watch this complete story line
playlist here, which traces the origins of all the ant colonies of the ant room, so you
can follow their stories and better appreciate how these ant kingdoms came to be, and why
we love them so much! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you’d like to watch the full, extended play footage of the fire ants eating
the lizard. It’s a pretty amazing process when watched
in completion so do check it out! And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last week we asked: What other creatures other than the ants
did we spot moving into the Ant Tower? Congratulations to Dhruv who correctly answered: “Mites” Congratulations, Dhruv, you just won a free
e-book handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: Why is the protein from this lizard
valuable to the Fire Nation? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free e-book handbook from our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and
SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

Why Are Ants Important? Biodiversity and the Evolution of the Ants: Talk by Corrie Moreau

Why Are Ants Important? Biodiversity and the Evolution of the Ants: Talk by Corrie Moreau


TREVOR PRICE: Corrie did her
PhD at Harvard with EO Wilson, working on ants. And then she did a
postdoc at Berkeley and then took a position at
the University of Chicago Field Museum, I mean, sorry, the
Field Museum in Chicago, which is affiliated with
the University of Chicago. And she’s worked all over
the world, as far as I know, but never been to India before. Most of her work has
been in South America. And most of her
work has been trying to work out the phylogenetic
relationships of the ants. But she’s moving into other
stuff, which we’re going to hear about today, I guess. So thank you, Corrie. CORRIE MOREAU: And I’m
really excited today to share with you some of my
passion of biodiversity in ants and also to talk about
some of my research. And so I think
that it’s probably no surprise to many of you
that protected areas are critical for studying
aspects of biodiversity, which is part of
the reason, I think, this symposia is important. I’ve been fortunate enough,
as Trevor mentioned, to be able to do
fieldwork essentially all over the world, in protected
and in unprotected areas. And you can clearly
see the difference in the diversity that’s still
present in those regions. Trevor did mention that I’ve
actually never done fieldwork in India before. So I’m thrilled that I get to
go to the field with Supriya and see some of the work that
she’s been doing on bird ant interactions. And so, in those
aspects of travel, I’ve been able to broadly
sample diversity in many ways. And I’ve partnered
with all kinds of scientists surveying all
kinds of groups of organisms. And in doing so,
I’ve been able to go to remote parts of Madagascar. I’ve worked in critically
endangered habitats within Peru and Ecuador. I visited field stations with
my entire lab in Costa Rica. I’ve been able to
work extensively across the wet
tropics of Australia, thanks to a collaboration
with Craig Moritz. And most recently, I actually
got to go to French Guiana. And that was really
exciting for me, because I work on
canopy species of ants. And so it’s one of the
only unique systems in the world where
you have this ability to get up into the
canopy as an individual. So you essentially go
up on this little zip line with a remote control. And you can drive yourself
around, from tree to tree, to collect ants. And as all of you
know, fieldwork isn’t always so glamorous. And in fact, I wanted
to include this image at the bottom corner of a
tick that I accidentally smuggled home inside my nose. And so it’s one of those
aspects of fieldwork that is enjoyable and
scary at the same time. So it’s maybe no surprise to
say that when you’re traveling the world, getting to places
like this, where you have this beautiful
primary rain forest, is the dream of most
tropical biologists. It’s where you see
the highest diversity, it’s where you find
the most new species. It’s where you see the most
interesting interactions between species, at least the
things that I’m interested in. But unfortunately, we also
know that a lot of times this is what the habitat
actually looks like, right. And so, it’s often abutted
up against the situations where we have humans
encroaching on that habitat. And not that that’s
necessarily always a bad thing. But it does mean that
we need to maintain some of that biodiversity
for the organisms that are living there. And so thinking about what
are the most important factors to take into account as we’re
surveying that diversity. How do we ensure
that we have the most connectivity between different
kinds of patches is important. So why are ants important? I get asked this
question all the time and also by members
of my family. But ants actually are
incredibly diverse. Not only diverse in species. So there are 13,000
species that have names that have been given
to them by scientists. That number’s at least
double if not triple. So there is a ton of diversity,
and that’s just ants alone. That’s not even thinking
about the remaining insects. And there’s a lot of complexity
in both their behaviors, in their morphology
or their form, and the interactions they
have with other organisms. And just to put that
in context, there are more species of ants than
all the birds and mammals added together. So those groups of organisms
that people often think are great metrics for
understanding diversity, I would argue that many
of the insect groups are the ones we
should really turn to. And so I thought I’d give
you a little bit of rundown on some of the cool
aspects of ant biology that intrigue me and got
me excited about ants. And the first of which
is that ants are a female dominated society. So pretty much every ant
you’ve ever seen is female. If they’ve been walking around
without wings, they’re female. And so workers are
responsible for all of the tasks within the nest. They’re the ones that
are out foraging. They’re the ones that
are fighting the battles. They’re the ones that
are caring for the young and repairing the nest itself. And males and new
virgin queens are only produced about once a year. And they have to go
off on a mating flight. And so actually males and
those new version queens don’t care at all
for the natal nest. So their role is literally
just reproduction. Males and these new
virgin queens have wings. So if you’ve ever seen
an ant without wings, it certainly is female. Ants are also the
world’s first farmers. They’ve been harvesting food
and growing their own food for over 50 million years. And so what you’re seeing here
is sort of the icon of that. And that’s the leaf cutter ants. And these groups
of ants actually go up into trees,
pull down vegetation, and then grow a fungus on it. So they don’t eat the leaves
that they’re cutting up at all. They’re actually
growing their own food. And they feed entirely
on the fungal farm. And army ants are another one of
those iconic groups of insects that have captivated
people’s attention for a long time because
of their raiding habitats. They’ll march through
entire villages, they’ll clean up all
of the pest species as they’re looking
for their own food. Because they’re such
voracious predators, they have to be nomadic. So they’re constantly
moving their nests in a very ritualized
cycle, so that they don’t expend all of the food
in a particular habitat. Now many people are
familiar with them, because they have these
very foreboding jaws, the soldiers do. But interestingly,
they’ve been used as human stitches, so
essentially to close wounds, in parts of Africa– and this
is a nice image from National Geographic– where
they essentially use them to close
the wound, twist off the body leaving only
the head, and then allow the rest of
the wound to heal. And so it’s a medical
use of ants as well. Some of you might be familiar
with this group of ants. These are called honey pot ants. And these are ants that
live in arid habitats, where food is boom
or bust, right. So essentially, you have
situations in which there’s a lot of food all at once. You need to gather it
as quickly as you can. And they have a mechanism
for storing that. Now if you’re harvesting
things like seeds, it’s not a problem to
store them in a granivory. But if you have
liquid food sources, how do you retain that? So what you have are
these individuals that hang upside down
on the top of the nest, and their entire job is
just to essentially act like a living food basket. And they serve as what
are called repletes. And then as food is needed,
they can regurgitate it across individuals. Now interestingly, these
ants– this behavior is converged twice within ants,
once in Australia and once in the southwestern part of
the United States and Mexico. And in both of these places,
the habitat’s very dry. Now one thing that indigenous
people have long known is that they can
eat these as snacks. I often call them nature’s
M&Ms or nature’s candy. So you can dig up a nest
of these and eat them. And they’re actually
quite delicious. Every year that we
teach a field course, we actually dig up a
colony and taste them. The one piece of advice
I would have is you’ll notice some of them are
really light golden color. Those tastes delicious. That means they’ve been
feeding on nectar or honeydew that they’re finding in
the environment, where the dark colored ones
are often feeding on carrion or carcasses. So don’t eat those. So why have I told
you all of this? Well, really, I want to sort of
beg the question of why is it ants are so important. I would argue that it’s because
they’re found worldwide, everywhere except Antarctica. They’re highly abundant,
they’re highly diverse. And in this case, I think
that they’re a great system to study aspects of
ecology and evolution. And so this is the group that
I’ve worked on for a while. But as an evolutionary
biologist, I’m interested in broader
questions than just ants alone. And so for me, that really is
the question of biodiversity. So what are the processes that
have generated the biodiversity that we see across the planet? We know that there
are a lot of factors that explain what we see. And that comes in the form
of both abiotic and biotic interactions. So thinking about in the abiotic
realm, things like temperature and precipitation or
geology or aspects of the environment in which
they’re living, why is it sort of shaping the
diversity that we see. And then on the
other hand, thinking about those biotic
interactions, whether it’s competition or predation
or maybe symbiosis– so why are these organisms, how they’re
interacting with one another, influencing both their
short term interactions, their ecology, but
also that longer term history in the
evolutionary scale. And so for me, a lot of the
work that I’ve been doing is looking at the
role of symbiosis in these interactions. Now as an evolutionary
biologist, and Trevor alluded to this,
I actually think about the world in the
construct of phylogenetic trees. I really love that we can
use these to ask some really interesting questions. Now clearly the
first is we can ask how are species
related to each other. So in this case,
what we’re looking at is a primate family tree. And what it tells
us is which species are most closely
related to each other. And although I find
that interesting, to me a phylogenetic tree, once
you have those relationships, is just the beginning. Now we can start to ask some
really interesting questions. And those include things
like the evolution of traits. We might want to understand how
many times a certain anatomy or morphology has evolved. Do we see convergence? Is it due to the one
evolutionary event? We also might be interested
in things like biogeography. How have they moved
around the planet? Is there some
pattern that we can discern, based on that
evolutionary relationship? Next we might be
interested in questions about speciation events. Why do we see
lineages splitting? Why are they splitting
where they are in the tree? And then what happens
to those terminals? How many species do
we see in those clades once that splitting
event has occurred? Now since most of
my research is based on using DNA and
genomics, another thing that I’m often interested
in is thinking about rates of change along branches. Why is it that some lineages
have really fast rates of evolution, while others have
really slow rates of evolution? So we can ask questions
about what are the correlated aspects of that. What does that mean for the
evolution of that organism or how they’re interacting
in their environment? And lastly, if we have some
sort of external information, we can actually put
a time frame on that. We can say, when did
those lineages arise? What was co-occurring on
the planet at the time? Does this help us understand,
maybe it’s biogeography or maybe it’s some aspect
of a novel morphology. And so having done
my dissertation with EO Wilson and
Naomi Pierce, of course I loved this phrase
from EO Wilson, where he once said that insects
or ants are the little things that run the world. And I truly believed
that, until I started studying
the bacteria that are stuffed inside the ants. And now I think they’re
the little things that are ruling the little
things that rule the world. And so what does that mean? I really am interested
in how species interact and in thinking about symbiosis. And ants are a great
system to do this, because they interact with
the diversity of organisms across the planet. So we know that they engage in
symbiosis with other animals. In the case of many of
these sap producing insects, we know that they’re
essentially having this reciprocal relationship,
where one’s providing food and the other’s
providing defense. We know that the
ant plant mutualisms have evolved multiple times. So now the question becomes, why
is it that some plants engage in symbioses where others don’t? Why do some ants engage in these
obligate symbioses and others don’t? We know that they
interact with fungi. I showed you the example
of the fungus growing ants. But we even know things
like cordyceps fungi that are parasitic on ants. And so I’m collaborating with
a colleague, David Hughes, to ask questions about
how often does this arise. Why is it that some
lineages are much more susceptible to infection
from these parasitic fungi than others? And lastly, we’ve been
doing a lot of work to try to understand the role
of gut bacteria in the host itself, what role that has
on the shorter term scale, so how they can access
nutrients from food, but also on the longer term scale. How has that allowed them
to move into novel niches? And so really what I’m arguing–
and this is not true just for ants, this is true for
almost any group of organisms– is that no organism is acting
in isolation in its environment. And although it’s very easy
for us to go into the field and focus on a
single group and say, OK, I’m going to only
look at that group– and I think that that’s
critically important. But once you get a pretty
good understanding of that, you need to start
to think about how is the environment in
which it’s embedded and all the other organisms it’s
interacting with influencing what we’re actually seeing. So what I’m going
to do is walk you through two aspects of
my research program. And the first is to look at
the evolution and biogeography of ants and what we
can learn from that, in light of understanding
flowering plant evolution. Unlike bees, we
don’t have lineages of ants that are
directly interacting with plants across the
diversity of flowering plants. We don’t have ants that are very
good pollinators, unlike bees. So why would we expect some
sort of reciprocal interaction between ants and
flowering plants? Well, there is some sort
of historic point of view to think about this. And the first of which is that
Wilson and Holldobler in 2005 had come forward what they
call their dynastic succession hypothesis. And what they had
argued was looking across the history
of ant evolutionism that we might expect
some lineages to have a response to the rise
of the flowering plant force, or the
angiosperms, because they have a close association. So many species are only found
in the crowns of angiosperm forests, so maybe
we might expect to see some shifts in
diversification or evolution there. But in other lineages
that maybe are ground nesting and
predatory, we might not expect to see that
sort of shift. In addition, one of the
things that’s often been noted is that as we see these
ants expand their diet, we actually see them
move up into the canopy, as they shift away
from being predatory. So now we have this framework
for saying, OK, well as you move on to
novel food sources, maybe this is providing
the framework for you to move into this new ecosystem. But now flipping
an ant on its head and thinking about it from
this aspect of the plants, if ants aren’t
pollinating them, what are the potential
positive impacts for them? And first, one of the
things that we see is that ants are critical to
understanding plant evolution, because they’ve been
known for a long time to be really great
seed dispersers. So what you’re looking
at in that lower picture is a picture of a
plant seed that’s covered by what’s
called an elaiosome. And this is the sort of fatty
aspect of the plant that’s there just to attract ants. And that’s so that the
ant will drag it away from its parental plant,
so that the new seed is not competing for resources
in that same environment. The ant will take it away,
eat off that elaiosome cover, and then either dispose
of it in the environment or throw it in its
refuse pile, which is a great place for a new
plant to grow up, right? So essentially, they’re
facilitating the plants to be able to have a
rich environment in which to begin their growing process. So in order to do this, the
first thing we needed to do was to infer the phylogenetic
relationships of the ants. So although what I was
able to discern from this were which species
were related to which, but as I told you before, one
of the most powerful aspect of phylogenetics is
what we can do next. So once we had
this phylogeny, we wanted to get an understanding
for the time frame involved. Now the week that our
paper was published, we actually got a lot of press. And I would say all
of it was right, with the exception
of one news source. And what they actually
said was that we had analyzed the DNA of
fossilized ants trapped in amber. And if you’ve seen
Jurassic Park, you know that they
take this syringe and they pull out a little
DNA from this mosquito trapped in amber. And I wish that is what we did. I wish that that actually
still had usable DNA in it. But it’s not. So how is it we were able to
leverage the fossil record? Well, it turns
out the ant fossil record is incredibly rich. So once we had
that ant phylogeny, one of the things
we could do was go in and assess all of
those fossil records. So we were able to look
at the fossil record as far as examining
fossils ourselves, but also assessing
the literature. There are tens of
thousands of ant fossils. So this gave us the
ability to really have a wide distribution of fossils. And this is what
we were able to do. So we were able to use 43
fossils as minimum calibration points. And I think the power
here is not just the large number of
fossil calibrations, but we also have them
distributed across the ant phylogeny and we have
them across time. So the youngest
fossils that we used were about 15 million years
old, and the oldest fossils were 100 million years old. So this gave us both
the breadth and depth to be able to ask questions
about the evolution and diversification of the ants. Now once we did this,
we were able to infer ages for all the major lineages
and their ants themselves. But for me what
really jumped out was when I looked at this dated
phylogeny or chronogram, what I noticed was a lot
of the diversification was happening in the
central part of the tree. So I wanted to understand
why we would necessarily see this pattern. Or was there actually even any
kind of analytical power there? Was it just an
artifact of the eye? The first thing that we did
was on the left we constructed a lineage through time plot. This is using a birth death
model of diversification. So what you’re looking
at on the x-axis is time. And at 0, that’s the present
through 200 million years ago. Then that solid line,
what we’re looking at is the number of lineages as
they increase through time or we’ve binned them into
their histogram or frequency. And what you’ll
notice is there seems to be a sort of sharp shift
in the number of lineages right around 100 million years. Now we want to understand what
patterns explain these data. So we used some
models to test this. First we asked the
question as a null model. Do we see a constant rate of
diversification through time? So we wanted to
understand whether we see a constant diversification
rate through time. So our next model was do
we see a gradual change. So maybe it’s not constant,
but we do see a shift. And lastly, we
wanted to understand, do we see two different
rates of diversification before and after that
specified break point? In our case, we used
the 100 million years, based on that lineage
through time plot. And maybe not
surprising, what we see is that model C is a
significantly better fit to our data, suggesting that
something’s happening around 100 million years ago. Now if we go back to thinking
about what was globally happening on the planet and
we look at the literature, one thing that
botanists agree on is that seems to be
right around the window where the expansion of the
flowering plant forests were happening. So really what seems
to be happening is that the ants are increasing
their number of species or they’re diversifying,
in response to the expansion of
these flowering plant forests across the globe. One of the things that we know
from the botanical literature is that the flowering plant
forests weren’t just spreading evenly across all
portions of the globe. So we wanted to
ask the question, could the ants potentially be
tracking the flowering plant forests. And so one of the
things that we also know is that ant diversity is
not evenly distributed across the planet. And that’s true for many
groups of organisms, right. We see this sort of
latitudinal gradient in species richness, where
the largest number of species are centered around the equator. And so in this map in
the bottom, what you see is the warmer parts the map
are where we have more species richness for ants. And so you see the
highest diversity right around the equator. And as we move
towards those poles, we’re decreasing
in that diversity. Now this is even true at the
generic level within ants. But this begs the question
are the ants just tracking the flowering plant
forest as they’re moving around the planet. So in order to
address this question, we need to infer an
even larger phylogeny. And that was so that we could
include even more information about the distributions
of ants across the planet. There’s some hypotheses
that have been put forward to explain why we see that
disparity of where species are found across the planet. So Stebbins in 1974
proposed that the reason we see more species
in the tropics is that essentially the
tropics are acting as a cradle. It’s where we have more
species arising constantly. So even if there had been
an even number of species across the globe at one point,
because more species are being generated there,
we’re just going to have higher
numbers currently. But the flip side
of that is maybe that the tropics are
acting as a museum. So even if we had an equal
number of species generating now, those oldest
lineages are all sort of tracked in this environmentally
stable part of the world called the tropics. The reason that
this is interesting is it sets up an
expectation or a hypothesis that we can test,
asking what’s generating the disparity in
species richness that we see across the planet. Is it that the
tropics are acting as a cradle for ant evolution? Do we essentially have a species
pump, generating more species all the time? Or is it just where we see the
oldest lineages persisting, and maybe species are
arising at a constant rate across the globe? Now in order to
investigate this, the first thing
we did was we had to cut the planet up into sort
of major biogeographic regions. And so we sort of used those
that are commonly recognized. Now once we had these six
major biogeographic regions, we had to assign
every single ant that we had in the phylogeny to
one or more of those regions, based on where they’re
currently found. So if you look
across the top, you can see that the first
species is actually only found in the Indomalayan region,
where the next individual is found across multiple
geographic regions. Now this is historically where
biogeographic inference ended. But we know that those
current biogeographic regions and have not always been
where they’re currently found. And I’ve already told you that
the ants are somewhere probably around 140 million years ago. So we wanted to
take into account where those potential
migration patterns could occur. So in order to do that, we
reconstructed a migration matrix, which essentially
said how likely is it that the individual
species could move across these major
biogeographic regions. So for example, if we had
a species that’s currently found in South America,
what’s the migration probability through time that
it could move from South America to Africa? Greater than 100 million years
ago, that migration probability would be one or 100%,
because those continents were in fact touching. Now as those continents
moved apart from one another, we wanted to take that
migration probability and decrease it through time. So as things were
moving apart, we were decreasing that
migration probability. And as things were
coming together, we were increasing that
migration probability. Now ants are actually very good
at getting around the planet, so we never made the
migration probability 0. In fact, the lowest we ever
made it was 0.1 or 10%. And so that allowed us to
infer the biogeographic history for the group. And this is in
fact what we found. And the first thing
that you’ll notice is almost all the
pies that you can see are green, suggesting
that the neotropics are reconstructed as those regions
where ant diversity was being maintained. Now I can’t show
you all the tips. But I can tell you
that in many of those we also see that same pattern. And coupling that with what
we know about ant diversity, the neotropics currently hold
more species and more endemic genera than any other
region the world. Now this begs the question
if the neotropics are so important to ant evolution,
in the deeper time scale as well in the recent,
are they just tracking the flowering plant forests
in and out of these regions? And in fact, that’s
not what we’re seeing. They don’t seem to be
following the angiosperm forests as they’re moving. They are taking
advantage of them, as soon as they’re arising
on these different major biogeographic regions. So the ant diversity seem to
be in low lying levels in each of these regions. And as the flowering
plant forest came in, they took advantage of
all these novel niches and moved up into the canopy. So going back to that
hypothesis that was put forward by Stebbins, it seems
that for the ants, the neotropics are acting both
as a museum, where we have the oldest lineages persisting. But it’s also where we have
the newest lineages that are constantly being
generated, suggesting that it’s acting both
as a museum and a cradle to ant diversity. So thinking about what are
the drivers of deep time evolution within
the ants, it does seem that the
flowering plant forest had huge impact on the
diversity that we see today. And in addition, it’s
not just that they are spreading across the landscape. They’re taking advantage
of all the niches that are afforded in
an angiosperm forest that we don’t see in
other kinds of forests. So they’re living
not just in the soil. They’re living in
the leaf litter, and they’re moving
up into the canopy. And that’s actually a behavior
that we don’t see in gymnosperm or conifer forests. In addition, we know that
ants are transitioning from being primarily
predatory at this point to also having species that
are now moving entirely in some cases to feeding
on plant-derived resources, either directly or indirectly,
as in the case of this ant that’s actually taking
advantage of honeydew excreted by these aphids. So this really sets
the stage for thinking about how these
interactions are driving the evolution of an incredibly
ecologically and numerically dominant group of organisms. So now I’ll spend a little bit
of time talking about the work that we’ve been doing looking
at the evolution of symbiosis with bacteria and
ants, and how that may have helped
facilitate that shift onto this herbivorous diet. So why should we use ants
to study gut microbes? There’s actually a lot of
compelling reasons why. First I’d say that we have
this really diverse group of organisms. We have a diversity of habitats,
as far as what they’ll eat and where they’re found. So it sets up this
really nice situation, where we can ask questions about
things like diet and nutrition. We can say, how
often does diet shape what we see in the microbiota? Do we see convergence? Do we see single
evolutionary events? Next, we can ask questions
about transmission. How are these microbes
shared among individuals within a colony? How are they shared among
species through deeper time? What role does
horizontal transfer play in understanding how
these bacteria are moving across these species lines? We might also understand
something about are these organisms
co-evolving together. So when do we see that
co-diversification, when don’t we? So it’s interesting
to think about what are the aspects of the
host and of the bacteria to explain these patterns. And lastly, because ants
are found across the globe, we can ask the question
of what’s driving it? Is in fact just
where they’re living driving the diversity we see? Is it all ants in the same
place just have the same gut bacteria, suggesting
they’re just picking it up from the environment? Or do we see that geography
is not necessarily what’s structuring
it, that there might be other aspects
of the host itself? So when we first started
working in this project, almost nothing was known about
bacteria associated with ants. So the very first thing
that we needed to do was essentially go on a
biodiversity discovery survey. So this is what we did. So with my colleague
Jake Russell, who I have been working
with for quite some time, we essentially went
in and surveyed almost 400 individual ants
from almost 150 genera and just asked, what do we see. And maybe not
surprisingly, we saw a lot of diversity of
bacteria associated with the guts of these ants. But for us, one
of the groups that was in really high prevalence
really jumped out to us. And that’s the
group rhizobiales. For some of you, especially
if you study plants, you’ve probably heard of
this group of bacteria. Because these are
the bacteria that are associated with root
nodules of leguminous plants. And we know in that case they’re
fixing atmospheric nitrogen for their plant host. So why are we finding
a group of bacteria that are related to them
within the guts of ants? Are they potentially
performing some similar role? And interestingly, if
we look at when do we see an association with
these groups of bacteria, we actually find
that they’re only associated with apps
that are feeding very low on the trophic scale. So what we’re doing here is
we’re using the ratio of heavy to light nitrogen to infer
their trophic ecology. Every one of those dots
is a single ant genus. Each is represented
by one or more species and multiple individuals to
infer their trophic position. And then we’ve mapped
whether we see an association with rhizobiales or not. And you’ll notice that things
can be highly predatory. So on the very right
hand side of this graph, things like army ants
are incredibly predatory. And then we have
things that span the spectrum, all
the way through be entirely herbivorous. And interestingly, we
only find an association with rhizobiales for
things that are feeding very low on the trophic scale,
suggesting that maybe they are up regulating
their host nutrition, like we see in plants. Now you might have noticed
there are two points that are at the zero frequency
for rhizobiales, but actually are feeding very
low on the trophic scale. And it turns out that
these are the carpenter ants and their allies. And in this case,
we actually know that these ants have
specialized bacteria residing in bacteria sites that are up
regulating their host’s diet. So it appears that
if you’re going to feed very low on
the trophic scale, you’ll have an association
either with Blochmannia, like the carpenter
ants, or you have an association with rhizobiales,
as we’re now finding. Now what you’re looking
at here is a phylogeny of the bacteria, color coded
by the host or environment from which it came. And what you’ll notice is that
we have an entirely red clade made up from all of
those individuals that came from ants. And interestingly, within
that rhizobiales clade, it seems to be tracking the
ant’s evolutionary history once it gets in. So we see all of
the samples that come from species from
the same genus group together, we have genera
that are closely related, grouping together as well,
suggesting that there’s some sort of longer term
association of these bacteria within the host themselves. But if we flip it
on the other side and ask what do we
see when we look at the distribution of these
bacteria across the ant phylogeny, what
we see is we have at least five independent
associations of rhizobiales across the ant phylogeny. Now interestingly, when we
again use that trophic scale– that trophic ecology–
and infer an association with the likelihood of
having these bacteria, we see a strong
signature of feeding low on the trophic scale
and moving into the canopy but having an association
with these groups of bacteria. Now one of the things that
we also want to understand is not just what bacteria
are found across the ants, but where are they found within
the digestive compartment. So we want to control for things
they might be just picking up in the environment versus
things that might be stable, long term residents
of different aspects of their digestive system. And so what we do is we do
a lot of careful dissections to look at the bacterial
community taking up residence, and we sample them out. Then we sample three
distinct compartments of the digestive tract. Now in ants, much like
in birds, the crop is essentially a social stomach. It’s a place for holding
food for regurgitation to other members of the colony. So we know that no digestion
actually happens in the crop. Digestion really only begins
once we get to the mid gut and into the hind gut. We had some hints
that there might be some really interesting and
diverse groups of bacteria. This is a method we
use in my lab using fluorescent microscopy
where we use a stain that adheres to DNA. And we can ask the question,
do we see bacteria associated with different tissues. So on the lower left side, you
see the esophagus of an ant. So we’ve pulled
out that esophagus. All those green dots are
the ant’s own host cells. So since this binds to
DNA, it binds to each of the ant’s own host cells. In addition, when we look in
the crop, again what we see is like a sea of
those ant cells. We see that hardened disk
called the proventriculus, which essentially is a valve
that decides whether or not food can be passed into the
rest of the digestive tract. So since they need to hold
it there for regurgitation, this is that mechanism
for doing so. But once we move
into the mid gut is where we start to
see an association with these groups of bacteria. So this sort of thumb-like
structure– again, you can see the ant’s
own host cells and then a sea of bacteria
that are associated with the lining of the
digestive system itself. So next we wanted to use some
next generation sequencing technologies to ask how
diverse are the bacteria, and how do they differ between
these different tissues that we’re sampling. And so maybe not surprisingly,
we found a lot of bacteria. Using this, you
can essentially see that we’ve looked
at different methods to assess how
comparable are they. And you’re starting
to see a signature that different tissues have
different kinds of bacteria. But maybe a better
way to visualize that is using a PCOA plot. And so all of those
samples towards the top are all those samples that
came from the leg, the mouth, and the crop. And we’re seeing no
signature of them being highly similar to the
tissue from which they came. But once we move into the
hind gut and the mid gut, suddenly these
bacterial communities become highly similar. And these are highly
similar among individuals from the same nest, individuals
from different nests, and even across the
distribution of the species, suggesting that
it’s not something about those interactions
that are driving that bacterial
community but there’s some structuring of
what bacteria we find, based on the part of
the digestive system that we’re investigating. And so being an
evolutionary biologist, I really love getting
down in the weeds and studying these really
intimate associations of bacteria with specific
digestive compartments. But I always kind of
want to take a step back and think about it in the
broader evolutionary context. So we actually have a
pretty clear understanding of the diversity
of bacteria found with cephalotes within the gut. We know that they’re stable
and persistent through time, that they’re not driven by the
environment in which they’re interacting, diet seems to be
driving a lot of what we see, and that they’re sort
of co-diversifying with their hosts. But interestingly, when we
take that and compare it to another group
of herbivores, it’s actually more closely
related to some generalists. We see convergence in the
gut bacterial community, again suggesting that it’s
something about diet that’s shaping the bacterial
communities that we’re finding. And even when we look
at species that they’re much more closely related
to, we don’t necessarily see convergence based on
what they are in fact eating. Now being a field biologist,
the first thing I thought was, OK, we’re going
to sample an herbivore, we’re going to
sample a generalist, and then we have to
sample a predator. And a priori, I already know
what we’re going to see. It’s going to be a
simple community, it’s not going to
be very diverse. It’s going to be stable
among all the individuals that we sampled. And then this is what we got. And interestingly, those
three bottom samples are individuals
from the same nest. Those are individuals that are
interacting with one another, and I did not
expect to see this. And then actually
I thought about it, and I realized I hadn’t
designed my study very well. So although I’m calling
these predators– and they actually
will take down prey and they will eat
other animals– they actually will also imbibe
on any kind of a plant derived resource they can find. And if they’re in high
diversity or density, they will feed almost
entirely on that. In addition, unlike things
like army ants, that are sort of group foragers–
where individuals are going out in the environment
together, they’re all eating the same item
and bringing it back to the nest– these are
actually solitary hunters. Each are going out in
a different direction to find food and then
bringing it back to the nest. So thinking about our own gut
microbiome and the bacteria we have associated
with our guts, all of us that woke up
this morning probably had pretty dissimilar
bacterial gut communities. Maybe some of you are roommates
or ate lunch together. But for those the rest of
us, we had pretty dissimilar bacterial communities. We’ve now had the same chai, the
same coffee, the same snacks. If you sampled our gut
bacterial communities again, they would suddenly
look much more similar. They would converge. And that’s because there
is bacteria on the food that we’re eating,
that’s just passing through our digestive system. It’s not necessarily
long term members of our bacterial community. But we’re sort of just
getting a snapshot. In addition, even if
it’s not associated with the food we’re
eating, we know that our bacteria
community response to the consistency of our diet. So if you were to suddenly
switch to eating a high sugar diet all the time, your
bacterial communities will bloom in response to that. So then I thought,
OK, now I need to go back and
redesign that study. So what I did is I took
my lab down to Costa Rica. We collected a bunch of these
same colonies of species and asked the
question, what happens when we sample the wild
caught gut microbiota, and then what happens
if we feed them on a sterile diet through time. So we sampled
individuals right when we collected them in the
field and then took them into the laboratory. Now the way that I’m going
to present these data, in what’s called a
network based analysis, and each of those nodes
is an individual ant. So we’re not looking
at one bacteria. Were asking questions
about all the bacteria that we find with their guts. Now if we have an
edge or a line that’s not connected to
anything else, that tells us that they
had a unique group of bacteria in that one sample. But those edges or
lines tell us something about how similar those
bacterial communities are. So the more connections,
the more similar they are, and the
more likely they are to be close to one another. It’s almost like magnets. They become attracted
to one another if their overall bacterial
communities are highly similar. If their overall bacterial
communities are dissimilar, they’re sort of repelled
from one another. So what happened when we
sampled those bacterial gut communities before
and after feeding them on these sterile diets? And here’s what you see. All of those red dots are
the wild caught gut microbes. So those are those
bacteria there, just sort of interacting
within the environment. And what’s interesting to me
is that all those red dots belong to members of the
same exact colony as all those yellow dots. So once we fed them on a sterile
diet, that bacterial community or that noise sort
of shrunk down to something that’s much
more likely to either be their core gut
microbiota, or we’ve now shifted their gut bacteria,
based on the diet we fed them. So this is a lesson to myself. So not only did I not
learn the first time to design my experiment
well in the field. Now even a second
time I’m wishing I had done different
diet experiments and fed them on different
kinds of diets to see are we coming down to the
core microbiota regardless of what we feed them,
or is this in response to what we fed them? Since we’ve all come here
to think about conservation, I think what I would like argue
is that all the work that I’ve presented here today is really
only possible because we still can go out and sample
biodiversity in the wild. I don’t typically
work on organisms that we’re keeping
in a laboratory. I want to understand how
evolution and ecology are shaping organisms out
in the environment in which they are
actually found. And so thinking about what
that means for the ants, the ants are actually
a likely very old group that diversified in response to
the expansion of the flowering plant forests and that
the tropics, and in particular the
neotropics, are really responsible for the
generation of maintenance of the biodiversity
that we see today. In the case of ants,
obligate symbiosis can influence genome evolution. And I didn’t share
that with you today, but we’re finding some
very interesting patterns when we look at
symbiosis and how they influence genome evolution. And lastly, thinking about the
role of bacteria across groups of organisms, at least
what we’re seeing with ants is it’s really allowed them
to shift onto novel diets and in many cases expand
into novel habitats. And so thinking about
species interactions and using diverse tools I
think is important for us to understand the broader
picture of groups of organisms in the environment. So there’s a whole suite of
people I’d like to thank. Clearly, I’d like to thank
my collaborators that are involved in this work;
members of my lab, who are just fantastic; funding sources. And really I’d like to
thank the people that have made it possible for
us all to come here today, and in particular, Trevor Price. And so with that,
if there’s time, I’ll be happy to take questions. [APPLAUSE]

Ants vs. Water Beasts

Ants vs. Water Beasts


El Dragon Island was well on the way to blossoming
into an awesome community…. Until I saw it. Something crawling on the glass that filled
me with great concern. Oh no! Wild pharaoh ant scouts were checking out
this new island of ours. It didn’t seem they could get across, just
yet. AC Family, this is not good. We can’t have what happened to the Titans
and our Jawbreakers, happen to our new Polyrhachis ants. It was only a matter of time before these
scouts will go back to their main colony and let them know of our lush island. The time has come, AC Family, for the release
of some special guardians. We needed to add a colony of beasts into the
waters of El Dragon to protect our island inhabitants… and I knew the perfect creatures
for the job. Please subscribe to my channel and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! It was clear that El Dragon was in the initial
stages of a mass invasion by these notorious wild ants known as pharaoh ants, ants we’ve
been grappling with for months now. They still haven’t moved out of my ant room,
and of course they would find our ant island here alluring, for on it, they could inhabit
its rich virgin soils, receive a constant supply of insects and honey, and all the water
and humidity they needed, not to mention a stout fledgling Polyrhachis colony with brood
to nourish them for at least a week or two. El Dragon needed some guardian beasts to intercept
the Pharaoh ants’ plans of invasion and protect our Polyrhachis colony. AC Family, I will take you through the official
release of these beasts into El Dragon, but trust me, you will want to keep on watching
until the end for the crazy and unexpected event. As for our Polyrhachis colony, they’re clearly
oblivious to the amount of danger their in. They just seem completely happy to be moved
into their new home in this leaf pocket on El Dragon. Speaking of which, the time has come AC Family
to give these new Polyrhachis ants an official name. Please take a moment to vote here for your
favourite name, from my Top 5 favourite suggestion from the comments of last week’s video. Thank you for your input, AC Council. This beginning acclimation period for an ant
colony is often the most exciting and challenging stage for any ant keeper because in these
first few weeks we get to learn via trial and error what the ants want and don’t want. I have found that one can read all the ant
keeping manuals in the world, but in reality, every ant colony is different and has its
own personality. These Polyrhachis ants, I find are inquisitive,
but at times quite cheeky! I saw this worker wandering so I attempted
to figure out what it was looking for. I wanted nothing more than to give it whatever
it needed in order to help the colony succeed. I tried offering it a fresh piece of superworm,
and… OK rejected and it assumed a threat pose. Alright Polyrhachis ant, perhaps some honey
might tickle your fancy? Success. She began licking the drop, and… oh? I guess sugar wasn’t what she was looking
for either. There was something else on her mind. What could she be looking for? I suddenly found her seemingly trying pick
at something from the driftwood, and as I looked closer, I realized what she might be
looking for! She wasn’t looking for food. She needed building supplies! As you may have seen in our video a couple
weeks ago, these ants build homes in leaves using the silk spun by their larvae. They glue leaf ends and debris together to
create their cozy nests. I tried offering the worker a piece of sphagnum
moss and tiny bit of cotton. Bingo! She instantly took to it. She picked up the sphagnum moss bit but I
guess that piece didn’t meet her standards. She inspected my offering a bit more. It was amazing being able to interact with
her like this. Would she approve of my package of building
materials? And no. And here she is assuming a threat pose again
warning me to not come near her. Alright, I get the message. So instead of choosing for the ants, I figured
I would give the ants the opportunity to choose their building material at their own discretion. I tore up more sphagnum moss and cotton bits
and placed them into a small container, which I placed onto El Dragon Island. And as planned, in a few short hours, the
workers were rummaging through our container, picking ideal pieces to bring back for nest
building. It was awesome to see them at work! What an amazing and unique behaviour to witness
in ants, right AC Family? It was like watching birds building a nest,
seeking out and gathering nesting medium! And wow! Check out their nest progress! It seems like they’ve got a plan and they’re
already looking pretty cozy and insulated in there! In the mean time, back to grave matters! We needed to unleash guardians into these
waters, just in case the Pharaoh ants decided to pull stunts and attempt to get across this
river somehow. By the way, this River also needs a name. Please take another moment to vote among these
Top 5 name suggestions here, so we can give this River an official name. So now AC Family, let’s go over our shortlist
of candidates to be the protective water beast of El Dragon: Turtles
Archerfish Crayfish
frogs salamanders
house geckos newts
beta fighting fish white cloud minnows
mosquito rasboras Many of these were popular suggestions from
last week’s video. Now to narrow the list down I had to pass
each species candidate through three specific criteria: 1) Ideal Habitat Match
2) A Taste For Pharaoh Ants but not Polyrhachis ants
3) Compatibility with Shrimp So let’s go over our first criteria: Ideal
Habitat Match. Which of these species could realistically
and comfortably live in this El Dragon paludarium? Right off the bat, turtles would be eliminated
because there is simply not enough space. Perhaps a baby turtle might be able to live
in here but it wouldn’t be long before it outgrew it, and not to mention a turtle would
totally wreck this setup, and God forbid it bend a branch or plant enough to touch a wall
and form a bridge for the pharaoh ants to cross or our Polyrhachis ants to escape. This also eliminates one of the top suggestions
last week: Archerfish. The water of El Dragon is only about 8 gallons
in volume and super shallow which is insufficient space for an archerfish. Plus, it would also try eating our Polyrhachis. Fiddler Crabs sadly also don’t make the cut
because they live in brackish water so they require a bit of salt in the water, and well,
this river is fully fresh. Our Second criteria: A Taste for Pharaoh Ants
but not Polyrhachis. We don’t want our water beasts to be picking
off our Polyrhachis islanders. This eliminates a lot of our candidates! Frogs, salamanders, and crayfish would eat
both pharaoh ants and polyrhachis ants that fall in or get close to the water. A house gecko, though it would make a cool
gargoyle hunting pharoah ants crawling on the glass walls, would also relish any Polyrhachis
ant. It leaves us with 4 more candidates: newts,
bettas fighting fish, white cloud minnows, and mosquito rasboras. So our final criteria was “compatibility with
shrimp”. We didn’t want our water beasts to be feeding
on our shrimp colony, which by the way, also need a name. AC Council vote here! And get this: surprisingly the shrimps have
already begun breeding! So cool! See this baby here? That shrimplet is super cute, so we can’t
have it become food for our new river additions! Let’s see who passes the test. Newts sadly don’t make this cut seeing as
they relish aquatic crustaceans like shrimp! Betta fighting fish, though gorgeous fish
and a very popular suggestion in the comments of last week, also don’t make this cut because
the bettas are large enough to eat the shrimplets and semi-adult shrimp. Two more candidates left: White Cloud Minnows
and Mosquito Rasboras, both very small fish that swim in schools. Turns out White Cloud Minnows which grow up
to 2 inches, are twice as large as mosquito rasboras which grow no larger than 1 inch
long, so not only does that mean White Cloud Minnows can actually feed on the tiniest shrimplets,
but also that I couldn’t keep as many White Cloud Minnows in our river, so… It was official, AC Family! Our new water beasts were going to be a school
of mosquito rasboras! Mosquito Rasboras, known scientifically as
Boraras brigittae are found in dimply lit, slow moving, quiet streams and ponds in the
forest peat swamps of West Borneo. This was perfect because the rivers of El
Dragon Island offered a lot of shady areas, mossy areas, calm areas, and a stream. They also loved eating living mosquito larvae
which in my books was a plus! In this size of paludarium, I could comfortably
house an impressive school of ten mosquito rasboras, which was awesome! I couldn’t wait to do it! But before I could add our Mosquito Rasbora
fish into this river, there was something I needed to do first. The waters were not prepared to house a school
of fish just yet. We first needed to move in a special preparatory
team! Remember last week how I said that it was
essential that our river was biologically established with enough beneficial bacteria
to properly sustain life? Well, right now the bacterial colonies are
still building up and are doing ok at keeping our shrimp healthy, but I fear there may not
be enough beneficial bacteria to sustain a school of fish. Let me explain. So without getting too in depth with the biochemistry
of it all, basically, all animals excrete waste in the water right? Excrement, urine, etc. This waste releases ammonia into the water
which is toxic to fish and aquatic creatures. Now here’s where the bacteria work comes in. AC Family get this: a group of bacteria covert
the ammonia to nitrite which is even more toxic than ammonia, but another team of bacteria
consume this nitrite and convert it to nitrate, which is a lot safer to fish than ammonia
and nitrite. Periodic partial water changes help remove
the build up of this nitrite before it gets to dangerous levels. So, we needed to make sure we had enough of
this beneficial bacteria to neutralize the amount of waste produced by a school of ten
mosquito rasoboras, otherwise adding the fish would poison El Dragon’s waters and kill all
its inhabitants. So, to gather this dream team of bacteria,
I had to dig into my larger tank’s filtration system and borrow some of the medium. Beneficial bacteria live mostly in the substrate,
on decor, and in the filter of aquariums. The sands and plants I used for El Dragon’s
rivers were all transplanted from my larger biologically established tank, so I knew I
had a lot of beneficial bacteria in El Dragon waters already but I wanted to add more just
to be on the safe side. So here before us is El Dragon’s filter, a
simple submersible filter with canisters holding the medium to house the bacteria. So here I had our canister with propagated
filter medium from my larger tank just packed with all that awesome bacteria, and in the
other canister, I wanted to add this cool stuff called Biosphere, containing rock biological
media for filters with bacteria already added to it. I popped a few of these babies inside, and
voila! One final thing I had to do was wrap this
entire thing in more media just to make sure any shrimplets don’t get sucked in, now that
the shrimps are breeding. And now we were ready to reinstall our filter,
a new planet of beneficial bacteria just waiting to eat up and neutralize our fish waste! I placed the filter in, and in a thick gross
brown cloud, the gunk from inside our filter blew all around the rivers of El Dragon. Though our water now looked polluted and dirty,
don’t be fooled. This is good dirt! Our populations of bacteria were now being
transported by the currents to all areas of our river. The gunk covered the sandy floors, embedded
themselves into the rock crevices, attached to plants, and nourished our moss. The shrimp were having a field day at all
this gunky goodness, picking away and eating anything it found tasty. The rivers of El Dragon were now seeded with
this life-sustaining team of beneficial microbiota, which would be the biological welcoming party
to our new water beasts. The next day, the waters were super clear,
The bacteria were now settled, and we were ready to add our fish. But suddenly a movement in the water caught
my eye. Is that what I thought it was? Oh no! Pharaoh ants in the water! I tried to fish one out and indeed, it was
a living pharaoh ant! It was confirmed. The pharaoh ant workers were now attempting
to swim across! This was bad. We needed to release our guardians now! AC Family, behold our great water beasts! Ok, so they were small, very small! But to pharaoh ants they were huge sharks! Look at them! I couldn’t wait to add them in! Let’s do this, AC Family! I poured the fish in, and as I stepped back
to watch them explore their new home, it was as if suddenly time stood still. Watching them was actually quite beautiful. At first the fish were a bit scattered and
disoriented. They were suddenly in a strange place they’d
never seen before. But it wasn’t long before they all found each
other and their instincts kicked right in, and they began to school. In a group together they began to explore
El Dragon’s river waters, at first they got a feel for the fast currents, and then eventually
made their way towards the peaceful gully, and checked things out around the corner where
our mosses were. I was suddenly a bit worried about how they’d
get along with our shrimp, but no, the shrimp and the fish seemed to acknowledge each other’s
presence but not bother each other. This was just amazing, AC Family. Over the next few hours, I watched as the
fish began to gradually come into their own and navigate El Dragon’s waters much more
confidently. They played in the waters, riding the exhilarating
river currents, then moving to slower waters, only to decide they wanted to swim in fast
waters again. Back and forth, the fish swam happily and
started to pick at the little specs of stuff the currents carried downstream. It was amazing to watch our mosquito rasbora
school acting as they would in the wild. But now the question was, would these fish
be efficient at eating pharaoh ants trying to swim across? Only time would tell, and I promised myself
I would keep my eye open to film the moment if I was ever lucky enough to catch it, but
based on the condition of the water surface just 1 day after adding the fish, it seemed
our mosquito rasboras were super thorough at feeding on whatever came floating on the
surface of the water. Look at how clear! Alright, let’s give our new school of Mosquito
Rasboras a name, shall we? Leave your name suggestions in the comments
and I will choose my top 5 picks for us to vote on in a future video. AC Family, as I watched our new water beasts,
now a bit more colourful, play and feed, I felt assured that our pharaoh ant invaders
no longer stood a chance at setting foot on El Dragon. Our Polyrhachis ants could rely on these fish
to keep them safe. I went to check the Polyrhachis nest progress… Oh no! AC Family, looking into the nest now, it was
completely empty! The Polyrhachis ants are all gone! What happened? And shortly after their disappearance, something
absolutely mind-boggling happened that left me speechless. What is this? Oh boy, AC Family! So many questions, and trust me, you won’t
want to miss the answers in next week’s episode, so be sure to hit that SUBSCRIBE button now
so you can keep following this epic ant story, and also don’t forget to hit LIKE every single
time, including now. By the way AC Family, in case you were wondering
about when I will update on the other ant colonies on this channel, rest assured I will
be featuring them soon. I generally try to share these epic ant stories
in trilogies before moving on to the next ant colony, and indeed some exciting news
is coming up! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here if you would like to watch some really awesome and special footage of our
Polyrhachis ants nest building, and just a hint, there’s something else there that you
might find cool! Also, I would like to quickly plug my daily
vlogging channel, that’s vlogs uploaded every single day, in case you may be wondering what
I do in between these weekly ant videos. Thank you to all AC Family who have already
subscribed! Alright and now it’s time for the AC Question
of the Week! Last week we asked: What did we observe
in the Polyrhachis ants that was previously largely
unknown to biologists? Congratulations to Omega Rex who correctly
answered: Feeding Ecology Congratulations Omega Rex, you just won a
free ebook handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: How do beneficial bacteria
help keep fish alive in an aquarium? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free ebook handbook from our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, & SUBSCRIBE
if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

My Ants Are Learning

My Ants Are Learning


Oh man! My Yellow Crazy Ants are showing some alarming
signs of learning, and I’m not sure what to make of it! Behold the Hacienda Del Dorado, the massive
terrarium and home of our yellow crazy ants, a colony you have voted to be called the Golden
Empire. Initially, I knew ants were intelligent creatures,
but I didn’t think they were capable of learning and remembering to the extent you will see
in this video! If you’ve been following our Golden Empire
for awhile, you will surely be impressed with how they now deal with food placed into their
territories! Also, a lot of you have been asking for an
update on the praying mantis that we added a couple months ago into this terrarium in
attempts to control the ants’ population? Well, this week, we update you on that as
well as other inhabitants of the Hacienda Del Dorado, and even make a crazy discovery:
a cool, massive hideout the Golden Empire has been secretly working on without us knowing! Ant intelligence will astound you today, and
I promise you won’t want to miss any of it, so keep on watching until the end. Gather ’round, AC Family and let’s marvel
at how evolved the collective colony mind of our Golden Empire has become, as we take
a tour of the new Hacienda Del Dorado, in this episode of the AntsCanada Ant Channel. Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family. Tired of nature cannels not showing nature
shows? Just watch this channel. Enjoy. Of all our creations on this channel, none
are as impressive as our Hacienda Del Dorado, a world which is home to our Golden Empire,
and a booming community of plants and animals. It’s amazing to think that this 75 gallon
terrarium which used to look like this, has grown and taken on a life of its own. If you look at a single spot, you will notice
that this place is in fact home to a variety of neat creatures. Let’s have a look. If we take a moment to stare here, we will
find not only ants, but baby millipedes, which were born from adults we introduced a few
months back to feed on and control our plants. By the way, AC Family, please take the time
to vote for an official name for this population of millipedes by voting on this ipoll here. These were my Top 5 name suggestions from
you the AC Family from a past video! We also see Springtails, a colony which you
have called the Springcleaners which live cooperatively with the ants as they feed on
the ants’ garbage, and hey, this is new! Check it out, AC Family. We also have woodlice in here! Woah! That is awesome. Woodlice are small crustaceans belonging to
the Order Isopoda, and they feed mostly on decaying plant matter. They would definitely be a helpful creature
in these territories because they eat and break down wilted leaves or fallen cuttings
from the plants I trim. I have no idea how woodlice ended up in the
Hacienda Del Dorado, but it is super cool to see that they have established themselves
here. Leave your suggested names for the woodlice
in the comments! We’ll vote on a name in a future video. But of course, the coolest animals to watch
in the Hacienda Del Dorado are our yellow crazy ants, the Golden Empire, whose workers
scramble about non-stop to and frow working around the clock, constructing and repairing
the nest, delivering messages, caring and transporting the young, and searching for
food. And how timely, as it’s now feeding time. This colony is amazing to watch eat, but this
time, they show some pretty amazing strategies at handling their large prey items. It seems the ants have learned from experience! Let’s watch what happens when I place a precrushed
cockroach into the terrarium here. Workers of the Golden Empire begin to swarm
the cockroach, but what’s amazing is the ants do not enter panic mode like they used to
at feeding time. In the past, the ants used to go into a sort
of feeding frenzy, biting and spraying formic acid on any prey falling into their clutches. But now, it seems the ants have learned from
past experience of previous feedings that these precrushed cockroaches are nothing to
panic too much over. Now the ants’ focus seems to be less on subduing
these precrused cockroaches and more on strategy. This is totally awesome that the ants have
matured in their understanding of prey management over time, and know now when to expend their
valuable energy. What you’re about to see next, AC Family will
truly blow your mind. Let’s watch what the Golden Empire does next
with this roach. Although the cockroach is pre-crushed and
split at the abdomen, it is still capable of movement due to the roach’s ganglia, or
brain centers being distributed down the center of its body. Since the ganglia are still in tact, the legs
and breathing functions in the roach are still operable. More ants in the immediate area are notified
of the presence of the roach, and more workers are called to the site for more help and ant
power. The cockroach kicks and moves as the ants
continue to swarm, but instead of becoming triggered and fighting back, the ants cleverly
use this kicking to their advantage. As if they’d done this many times before,
the workers carefully and swiftly begin to dig at the earth below the cocroach, to widen
the tunnels of their nest. Ants start to carry pieces of soil out from
beneath the kicking cockroach. Check out their amazing execution. Eventually, with a wider entrance, and the
ants guiding the kicking cockroach down a carefully calculated slope, the cockroach
slides right into one of the Golden Empire’s nest chambers, where the ants are then able
to further break down and feed on the cockroach without having to worry about other predators
stealing their bounty. Isn’t that just incredible? The way these ants dealt with this cockroach
is just utter genius. The collective intelligence of ants is truly
mind-blowing, but what’s interesting to me here is that the ants have seemed to have
learned to keep a cool head during this entire process! They don’t go crazy at feeding time anymore. Would you see this as evidence of ant learning? Now a lot of you have been asking about what
happened to the praying mantis we added a couple months ago as a population control
agent for the Golden Empire. Well, the last time I saw the mantis was a
few weeks ago. It seems to be really good at hiding within
the foliage of the terrarium. Let’s have a look around now. The
plant life in the Hacienda Del Dorado is just amazing and makes it hard to locate our mantis! I couldn’t see it, but did you? Time and time again, your eyes prove to be
better than mine so if you spotted her in this video let me know in the comments along
with a time stamp so we can all see! Among all the other plants, the ficus truly
is winning in the competition for survival. Sadly, though, it seems it has successfully
outcompeted other plants we placed in here. Take our carnivorous pitcher plants for instance
which we planted a few months back, also as an attempt to control our Golden Empire’s
population. Despite dilligently providing it with light
and distilled water, it seems both pitcher plants failed to survive. I don’t know if it was the ficus choking it
of essential light and water or if it was the ant colony constantly mining the soil
beneath it, but the carnivorous plants now exist as brown wilted dying plant sticks. As I looked around some more for evidence
of the mantis, I came across a space I never thought to check for the longest time. The west side of Hacienda Del Dorado, lay
shrouded in darkness beneath the dense climbing carpet of ficus. I was surprised to see this darkened area,
as initially when the ficus wasn’t so space monopolizing, this area was exposed to the
outside, but looking into this dark spot now, I was surprised to discover this. Wow! It was a large cavity, full of ant activity. Ants rushed around, excavating tunnels, building
ant hills, and even transporting food. This ant here is carrying a piece of quinoa! Yes, I feed my ants quinoa. It seems the growing of the ficus has resulted
in a neat change in the environment of areas like this, creating amazing microclimates. This huge secret cavity has a much more stable
humidity level than other exposed parts of the terrarium, because the overlaying plant
cover and wood, keeps all that awesome humidity inside this cavernous area. It is no surprise, the Golden Empire has taken
advantage of this huge climate-controled space, and I wouldn’t be surprised if our 8 queens
also lived here. Perhaps the ants have made this VIP territory. I wonder how many other secret chambers like
this exist within the Hacienda Del Dorado? For sure under all this ficus there are other
secret spaces laying hidden from our view. Speaking of being hidden from view, it seems
our mantis is nowhere to be found. So this could mean one of three things. First, the ants may have ultimately eaten
our mantis. I am surprised I haven’t seen remnants of
her exoskeleton anywhere, though. They usually pile that stuff in the colony’s
garbage sites. Two, our mantis could be still hiding here
somewhere and we just can’t spot her. Or three and this is probably the most likely,
our mantis might have taken advantage of periods when my house keeper was cleaning the terrarium
and the top was left open. Perhaps the nimble mantis jumped out and managed
to escape through my open windows. If I do manage to see her again, though, I
will surely let you guys know. Now meat and blood-thirstiness isn’t all I
associate our Golden Empire with. These Yellow Crazy ants also have quite the
sweet tooth, and it’s time to give them their bi-weekly supply of honey. Placing a small honey jar here. As was seen with their reaction to the cockroach,
it seems the ants have grown used to these regular honey jar offerings, and though they
used to go crazy with honey before, now they’re much more chill. It was clear that there was no need to rush. Perhaps they have learned to trust that every
4 days or so, there would be a new jar of honey placed here. Watch them gather rather calmly around to
feed on honey. Some ants get stuck in the honey but don’t
worry. This honey jar gets consumed in less than
24 hours and all trapped ants simply have to wait for the jar to be done in order to
be freed. It’s pretty funny. Imagine being an ant and getting stuck there
and thinking, Oh boy! Now I gotta wait. Hehe. Observing these every day happenings of the
Hacienda Del Dorado and watching how it amazingly evolves over time is the most rewarding thing
about owning a terrarium like this, and I love updating you guys on its progress. But the only concern I have now is this: do
you think these ants are growing too much in routine? I mean, ants in the wild are always contending
with different elements, dangers, and events, and I feel these ants have grown so used to
their regular feedings and happenings that the ants may soon become sedentary, for their
species anyway. Yellow Crazy ants are known to be savage,
conquerers of lands. Do you think the Golden Empire needs more
enrichment? Do you think they’re a bit too comfortable
now? Should we be keeping them more on their toes,
so to speak? What would you suggest we do to help enrich
them behaviourally? What should our next Hacienda Del Dorado event
be? Let me know in the comments section, AC Family,
and perhaps your suggestion might be chosen as the next life event for the Golden Empire. Thank you for watching, guys, and don’t forget
to give this video a thumbs up if you enjoyed it, leave me a comment with your thoughts,
and also of course subscribe and hit the bell icon to keep on watching these neat ant nature
videos! Until next week, AC Family, it’s ant love
forever! Alright, AC Family! Isn’t the Golden Empire such a cool ant colony? Did you enjoy this week’s episode? AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here if you would just like to watch some extended play footage of the Golden Empire’s
activities in the Hacienda Del Dorado. And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week. Last week we asked: How do live ant exhibits in museums and zoos
help ants, humans, and the environment? Congratulations to Marco De Santi who correctly
answered: A setup like this provides a rare opportunity
to observe and learn about a foreign ant colony, and at the same time learn about their
environment, and why conservation and protection of such species and their habitats is so vital
for the good of the planet. Congratulations Marco you just won a free
ant t-shirt from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: What is the name of the order
to which woodlice belong? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could win a free ebook handbook from our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, & SUBSCRIBE
if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

Full 2019 Ant Room Tour & Update Video (Millions of Ants + Other Animals)

Full 2019 Ant Room Tour & Update Video (Millions of Ants + Other Animals)


Greetings, guys! Welcome to the Antiverse, and this extra bonus,
full Ant Room Tour and update video, to ring in the new year of 2019! Who else is excited to see what the up coming
year has in store? I know I am, and I am positive there will
be a tonne of new and epic stories to tell this year here in the Antiverse. Now, AC Family, I wanted to include this extra
flash video for the week, in addition to our regularly scheduled upload, to take you all
on a quick tour of my entire Ant Room, as well as have a look at all my critters and
pets previously featured on this channel. I’ve been looking forward to doing a complete
flash update like this before the end of the year so that we could all be on the same page
for the up coming videos in 2019. So, let’s start with the Plataeus of Gaia,
home to our trapjaw ants known as the Jawbreakers. This colony has doubled in size since we last
saw them and is currently one of the Ant Room’s most successful intermediate colonies. It will soon, this year, join the ranks of
the Fire Nation, the Golden Empire, and Dark Knights in explosive numbers. Moving on to El Dragon Towers housing our
Polyrhachis ants known as the Platinum Dragons. Last week’s video featured this colony, so
be sure to check that video out after watching this video. Guys, in short, the mites are back, but the
ants are doing well, so I’m not concerned. I explain why more in depth in last week’s
video. Moving on to the Dark Knights, our massive
self-perpetuating supercolony of black crazy ants. They’re doing well as usual, and as usual,
they’re the least problematic colony of all my ants, so sadly they happen to be the least
featured colony on the channel. But though you might not hear from them much,
just know they are doing great as usual, and just love their sugar water test tubes and
roaches. Each day does not change for them at all! They are the perfect ant colony to keep as
pets. Moving on to Avista, our open concept ant
kingdom home to our Big-headed ants, the Bobbleheads. They are also doing amazing, perhaps twice
the size since we last saw them. They eat lots, and are still seen farming
mealybugs for their honeydew. They will be needing another island expansion
very soon. Next up, we have the famous Hacienda Del Dorado,
kingdom to the Golden Empire, our massive super colony of yellow crazy ants. They are also doing extremely well as usual,
in their newly renovated terrarium, as are the new shrimp and rasbora fish now living
the Golden Springs, their water installation. Moving along, as you may have seen in last
week’s video, the carpenter ants, now called the Lumberjacks, living in this Hybrid Nest
are doing extremely well with lots of new worker ants and young. But many of you asked about the free-roaming
ants. Well, they’ve surprisingly moved out and I’m
not too sure where they’d gone! I suspect they moved into one of the Chambers
of Sudan as I had seen some workers inside one of the Chambers of Sudan, but I’m not
sure. I did however spot a nuptial flight happening
this week of the same species as the free-roaming ants, which concerns me, but we’ll have to
see if anything comes of that! The resident spider living over the Hacienda
Del Dorado was having a feast that night, though. Speaking of the Chambers of Sudan and the
rhino beetle larvae which were supposed to emerge by Christmas time, have been nowhere
in sight, no sign of adult beetles at all. I’m quite worried but perhaps they’re still
developing. Should I open one and check? Moving on to the Palace of Mounds, kingdom
to our colony of termites, I haven’t checked on them but I believe they are still growing
in numbers underground and I do still see their structures sprouting up here and there. Unlike ants, it’s hard to see them unless
I literally go in and tear apart their structures, which I am reluctant to do. I’m ok to just know they’re in there. Moving along to the Shire, home to our Diacamma,
Asian bullet ants, known as the Black Panthers, the only thing to report here is that I am
seeing less worker ants emerging now. I’ve changed nothing about their care and
they have been doing quite well, but seemingly out of nowhere they’ve decreased in population. I also don’t see male ants flying around anymore,
like I used to. This colony runs on a gamergate system where
there is no queen but instead a pregnant worker ant who lays all the eggs. I wonder if that gamergate died and the colony
needed an outside unrelated male to keep the colony going. I’m not going to panic just yet, and I’ll
have to explore that in an up coming video. As for the carpenter ants that I thought had
disappeared but discovered were still around living in the Grove, they are still growing
underground and I’ve spotted them emerging to feed on roaches. Next up, the new goddess of the Antiverse,
our gorgeous greenbottle blue tarantula living in the arid shrine known as the Arachno Sanctorium. Well, AC Family, I’m happy to announce that
her official name as per last week’s voting, is now Azula. Goddess Azula, as we saw in last week’s video
is doing well, despite the faulty shed she had where the top of her carapace failed to
come off with the rest of her exoskeleton. Her web lair has thickened and continues to
grow in complexity and structure every day. As for the Selva de Fuego, as you saw in this
week’s video, the Fire Nation is doing well, and as you may have seen in last week’s video,
the river is also doing well. We’ve cleaned it up of a blue green algae
problem using shrimp and snails, which have started to breed inside the river. Check out that cute baby elephant snail! And this baby shrimp. Other snails have also begun to appear in
the river probably coming in from the java moss introduced in last week’s video. Also, turns out the stowaway fry that snuck
in with the java moss, grew up to be a juvenile female guppy. Cute right? Next up, we have our pseudo-cannibalistic,
blood-sucking dracula ants living in the Blood Towers. This colony has done extremely well and have
been increasing in numbers, eating lots, and rearing a growing brood pile within the privacy
of their underground chambers within the Ant Towers that make up their kingdom. This is another colony I am confident will
be needing more space soon due to their booming population growth. They are indeed among my favourite of ant
kingdoms of the ant room. Moving on now to Olympus, home to one of the
most impressive ant colonies in the Ant Room, the Titans. They are still as big a colony as ever, and
eat as much if not more than their neighbours, the Fire Nation. If there was another colony that I think could
take on a whole chicken head, it would have definitely been this super colony of marauder
ants! Surprisingly, however, they have completely
killed and cleared the entire territories of all plants. I suspect their underground chambers have
made it impossible for the plants to thrive. I will have to find more much-hardier plants
to stock these lands with. I look forward to peeking in on their subterranean
chambers in a future video. As for Roachella, my colony of feeder roaches. They are still going strong, and due to the
more natural setup, I’ve had a nice place to compost most of my fruit peelings and such,
as well as feed a continually growing, gut-loaded roach colony which only needs restocking every
three months. Moving down to Axolotland, the axolotls are
doing great and have surprisingly put on weight! They eat a lot. I love looking at their bushy gills! My fish tank is healthy and strong, as normal,
my green tree python Valentino is doing great as usual, and finally my African Grey parrot,
Ligaya, my pet dragon is also doing great! She’s talking more and more, is fully weaned
with an enormous appetite, and makes quite a mess! Haha! She comes with me for daily walks outside,
and she appears regularly in my daily vlogs on my vlogging channel. Feel free to visit and subsscribe to my daily
vlogs here! And that, AC Family, is a complete update
on all the critters of the Antiverse, and beyond, under my care. I do expect to expand this menagerie of animals
in 2019, and actually purchased a farm property this year, on which I will be building my
first house, and you better believe we have some epic plans for the new Ant Room and space
for animals. My team of care takers for all the critters
will also be expanding, just so I ensure that every animal and critter under my care lives
the best life they possibly can. We’ll see what the up coming year has in store
for us all! So don’t forget to hit that SUBSCRIBE button
to join the AC Family and follow the epic lives of all these creatures we love and cherish. I appreciate all the love and support you
guys show with every video I upload. It means a lot to me and I take none of you
for granted. Happy New Year 2019, AC Family! It’s ant love forever. Oh and by the way, here’s another hidden video!

Time Lapse – My Ant Farm Routine

Time Lapse – My Ant Farm Routine


Hey, what’s up guys AntsCanada here! Welcome to the AntsCanada ant channel. Today I wanted to walk you through a time lapse video of my daily routine with one of my colonies. So first I make sure to spot clean my Outworld. So to begin, with gloves, I start to baby powder my tweezers and my gloves so that the ants slip off and it makes it easier for me to work around these ants. Now before spot cleaning this Outworld, I made sure to not feed them in this Outworld for a few days so that Less and less workers would forage in this Outworld which would make cleaning this Outworld a lot easier. Now this Outworld here I try to spot clean at least once a week. So the last time I spot cleaned this out world was last week I try my best not to get any workers, and if there are workers on the pieces I just wait till they fall off. It is super important to spot clean your Outworlds guys because these ants really depend on you to remove their leftover food and Midden. In Nature the elements and other creatures help break down this naturally, but because this is an artificial Outworld and we don’t have those cleaning agents we have to be those cleaning agents so it’s important to remove these decaying pieces of insects and that sort of thing. It also leaves a foul smell if you leave all of that decaying matter there and it attracts mites and maggots from gnats, so you definitely don’t want the ants’ garbage to be sitting there and decay. Now the next thing I’m doing here is I’m cleaning the bathroom area I just rub that area carefully with a wet tissue. See all those ant feces caked on there? It’s good to keep that clean. I also use a damp tissue to wipe the Acrylic just to remove any grime or dirt that might be on the acrylic. I will see that way. I proceed to further spot clean any little pieces that I can pick up there, and I turn up the gravel a little bit. I turn up this gravel layer just so it keeps the surface fresh because if you can imagine, day in and day out these ants lay pheromones on this surface so if you kind of keep this mixed up and nicely turned every now and then, it gives them a fresh surface. Now the next thing I do is I hydrate my hybrid nests. So I check the hydration chamber and I see that it’s still relatively clean I had changed the hydration medium last week. Now the second hybrid nest I hadn’t watered for a while, so I’m going to hydrate it now. All right now time to change the drinking water of my aunts by switching these nearly empty water tubes. So basically what I have to do is I have to take a fresh test tube full of water, disconnect this old tube, carefully, use my thumb to plug the hole and then dump all of those ants that were in the old test tube into the Outworld along with the cotton. I use this dental hook to kind of pull the cotton out and all of that I’m going to remove the cotton on a later date. I make sure to grab any escapees and flick them into the Outworld. Every ant matters! Now if you look at the Outworld where Solenopsis hill is you’ll see the bathroom area. I’m going to clean that maybe next week. Alright, now it’s time for feeding time! Here are some Dubia Roaches that I’m planning on feeding them today. Now, if you look towards the back that roach there this roach is a dead Roach. So I wanted to remind you guys that you can also feed dead feeder insects if you have dead feeders in your tanks where your rearing your feeder insects throw them into your Outworlds. Remember that ants are one of the world’s best decomposers So they’ll even eat dead insects. You don’t want to waste: your ants will relish them. Now that this Outworld is clean. I’m also going to feed them some new super worms. Think I’ll throw in some more here. I try to crush these super worms by the head. I do the same for the cockroaches, but they still struggle. I don’t want to crush the entire insect because I kind of want the insides of the insect to stay soft so that the ants can suck it up easier. And finally at the end of all of this, I make sure to clean all of the tools that I used so I clean my tweezers and I clean this dental hook. And that’s it guys! That is my daily routine. It takes about 25 minutes in total and this doesn’t include any maintenance for my feeder insects. If you keep your ant colony nice and clean, well maintained and well fed, your ant experience will be superb! Thanks guys for tuning in to another video! Don’t forget to subscribe, like, share and comment! This is AntsCanada signing out. Okay, thanks so much guys for watching my daily routine for my ant colony. Be sure to subscribe to our videos! 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