Friday, May 15, 2009

Ants

My friend Rebecca posted a few photos on her blog of the ant colonies she is studying as part of her PhD research. It involves giving each ant a unique color combination to track the actions on an individual level. A bit like the colored bands that the BLM placed on spotted owls for tracking purposes. Also a bit like my recent attempt to mark our queen bees.
I wonder if you can practice on non-study ants to perfect your painting technique. Unfortunately, it's hard to practice on worker bees as they'd likely sting the holder; making for painful practice sessions. We learned that the queen, while equipped with a stinger, is unlikely to use it on a lowly human; she'd much prefer to stick it into a rival queen. Oh, courtly politics.

2 comments:

  1. awesome! hard work though.

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  2. You'll be happy to hear that we *do* have an abundance of practice ants! The undergraduate who is helping me out this summer spent that day painting a set of 10 practice ants, while I worked on painting 120 "real" ants.

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