So, I found a small picture frame for next to nothing. This is the result:
The formicarium is about right for a first founding chamber, I think. One lesson is that I found out that cooking oil is a much better mould release than soap water. This formicarium won’t open up for cleaning but the entrance is quite large and I think I’ll be able to clean it when I have to.
Since this is an old frame the glass is slightly domed. I wonder if this will help viewing the tiny ants.
So we need a formicarium. It’simportant to get the right look and feel för the budding commune. What’s the ultimate commune architecture?
Concrete. Lots of concrete!
I got a cheap photo frame and some clay. The idea is that the Lasius Flavius especially is a small and shy species I thought I would make her a small cave for her first home but also use the entire glas plate. So I have a small room and a corridor at the bottom of the formicarium. There is a an exit to the out world at one end and another that will be blocked to start with but that can easily be connected to the rest of the rooms with a short tube. There is also a water reservoir at the bottom left side. I dusted the area with crushed expanded clay to try to increase the moisture in that corner.
This is he negative, that is the clay mould on glass. It was surprisingly easy to separate the mould after the concrete hardened.You can see how I tried to shape the tunnels into a triangle cross section so that there is a flatish floor and a sloping roof.
I’m thinking, this is a nice first try. I’m not sure if I’ll use it or if I’ll redo it from scratch. After all, she wont have a cadre large enough for some months.
So I’ve constructed a small out world. I found an old iPod nano case. It’s made from clear acrilic and it’s easy to cut and drill. A few holes and some concrete, two small decorations and it’s done.
I use concrete as a floor because I want a built up surface to place my decorations on but I don’t want her to start a burrow. The decorations are a small aquarium plant and a Star Destroyer (just to give a sence of scale and importace). In the future I’ll remake the box into a test tube dockingstation but the time when I need to dock multiple watering tubes and feeding tubes is a couple of years away.
That ‘almost’ is the tricky part. Ants are small and airholes are big. That is why so many antkeeping pics, tips and tricks, include cotton balls. A cotton ball is like an impenetrable forrest of tiny fibers but it still lets a tiny trickle of air through. Since I’m new to this I try not to over consume and buy loads and loads of expensive formicanrias and out worlds. (Beware of crappy pictures below.) I’ve been experimenting with airholes in my up coming mini out world. First i stretched a rubbery plastik over the air intake and poked it with a needle. I wasn’t very pleased with the result so I decided to, instead, drill holes in clear acrylic. This could have been so much better looking but I’m fairly happy with the result.
0,8mm drill and aquaium grade silicone sealant.
So,the ever ongoing question of clautral or semi-claustral. I’ve decided to give Nour some food. Laying eggs is hard work, not to mention caring for the brood so I gave her a small piece of cat food. Also I extended the nest outside of her cigar tube so I can see if she eats anything without handling the test tube. She really doesn’t like me picking up her home all the time (OK, I don’t pick it up all the time. I look at her at most twice a day, but now I can hopefully disturb her a little less.).
In this study I will try to observe and evaluate the concept of Socialism in One Country through a long term study of a colony of ants.
So I got me an ant. She is a Lasius Flavus, named Eleanor. I needed a name of a great female that had a genetic value so I chose one of the Marx sisters. Eleanor, shortened to Ella, Elly or Nor. Hmm Noor. Nour. Yep, Nour, meaning light, briliance or radiance. Eleanor is a small ant even for her spieces, about 5.7 mm (normally they’re 7 to 9 mm).
So she arrived in a testube with a moist cottonball. I wanted to make sure she got settled as soon as possible so I connected another testube, rigged with water, end to end to her travelling tube. After only half an hour she started exploring her new home. But it took her about twenty four hours to move over to her new tube.
That also the pace of myrmecologi; You spent hours watching her do nothing then decide to du something new. Then you wait to see if something happens. I decided to give her some honey water. Now, I don’t know if she is claustral or ”semi-claustral”. That is, I dont’t know if she is the type of girl that says ”Fuck all” during her first pregnancy ”I won’t go outside untilmy first daughters are with me!” or if she woud like some food. (I’m quite sure she’s not non-claustral – that is, she wont go out hunting.)
But I do know that she is fossorial and shy. So I set up a system to encourage her to move in. I hid the new home in an old cigar tube. Then I put a weak torch to shine on the travel tube. Then comes the long wait.
Maybe she will raise a nice brood or maybe she is disturbed and stressed. It’s so hard reading the facial expresions of ants!
This could be the first sign of a brood! After only a week I can see three tiny pinpricks that could be eggs.
Jag har fått nytt arbete. Det är ungefär som mitt andra arbete, biblioteksassistent, men med några små men viktiga skillnader. Jag har ett schema! Inget mer springvick. Nu har jag jobb varje dag. Dessutom har jag ett bord. En alldeles egen arbetsstation med stol och allt.
Men för att börja från början. Detta är min arbetsplats nu:
Navigera genom kullar och dalar:
Uppför ytterligare en trappa:
Bakom hylla S
Länksallad från Confuse:
John Scalzis Big Idea:
The what’s new and upcoming on SF bokhandeln
Papers and bloggs like Io9
Asking Wrong Questions
Svenska SF and fantasy-fans group on Facebook.
I think I’ve missed most of the link to podcasts so, as always, feel free to comment!
The Coode Street Podcast
Bokrekommendationer från Confuse:
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
Just City by Jo Walton
Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand
The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway
Brian McClellan: Promise of Blood
David Hutchinson: Europe in Autumn
Mark Lawrence: Prince of Thorns
Mur Lafferty: The Shambling Guide to New York City
Emma Newman: Between Thorns
Deborah Biancotti: Bad Power
Suzanne van Rooyen: I Heart Robot
Maria Turtschaninoff: Maresi & Anache
Marissa Meyer: Lunar Chronicles -series
Johanna Sinisalo: The core of the sun
Kelley Armstrong: Cainsville series, Otherworld YA series Darkness rising and Darkest power
Emmi Itäranta: Memory of water
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street av Natasha Pulley.
I myself may or may not have recomended Cold Iron by Stina Leicht
If I have missed a book or if you want to add to the list, feel free to comment!