February 23, 2013

Ant Love From an Ant Nerd

A few weeks ago, this ant nerd traveled to the wilds of Arizona to pick up two ant colonies. Yes, myself and Leslie Gordon (the Museum's live animal queen), drove over 1000 miles in under two days to bring a few hundred ants back to the Museum. Why?
 

Our new harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex rugosus,
taking down a wax worm!
 

Well, these ants are for display in the Museum's new Nature Lab exhibit, which is opening this June. That's right, we're going to have a live colony of harvester ants, a.k.a. Pogos (the ultra cool, ant nerd way to refer to this ant genus), inside the Museum!

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Since the exhibit isn't opening for another four months, we're keeping the ants in our super secret insect quarantine space. Here's a photo of our set-up, check out those sexy, glass nest chambers. The ants seem to really like them, they've been laying lots of eggs.
 

It's true people, these ants pack a mean 

punch, uh I mean sting!

 

Leslie and our animal keepers have become an expert ant housekeepers. Here she is, diligently sweeping up the ant's trash pile which includes uneaten grain, dead ants, and the odd cricket leg that wasn't so juicy.

 

 

Leslie is an ant queen. 

Well, not the one laying all the eggs!

 

Inspired to visit the ants? Come visit the Nature Lab this June!



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