[ExI] ants again

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Sep 22 04:04:09 UTC 2008

Preface: after watching what happened, I am filled with such grudging
admiration for these millibeasts that I have half a mind to just go ahead
and sacrifice one of my trees and let them farm their damn aphids, even at
the expense of several oranges.

> ...On Behalf Of Mike Dougherty
> Subject: Re: [ExI] ants again
> On Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 1:27 PM, ben <benboc at lineone.net> wrote:
> > I think that you may well get no ants in the gak pit...

During the period in which the ants had free access to the ground, I
observed exactly three ants inside the gak pit: two ants walking about
inside and one that evidently perished in the tree and fell into the pit.
The dead one showed up within minutes of placing the cardboard under the
tree.  It landed already dead, curled into the fetal position, or rather the
larval position.  Don't know what happened to her.  Ant-erior lobe

> (What the hell is Gak, anyway??)

Gak is the hell a name I came up with a product the hell called Tanglefoot,
which is a sticky gooey substance that ants the hell can get their feet
stuck in when they attempt to walk over it.

> > Can you guess why?
> free-range anteaters mistake the experiment for a free lunch?

Haaahahahaa!  {8-]  

No.  But the second part of my experiment may be ruined because I forgot to
control for ants coming in from the outside and getting stuck in the gak
ring.  I see ants currently stuck in the ring, but they appear to be facing
inboard, so I suspect they may have gotten gakked trying to break in.  In
fact I may need to start all over with a double ring, two concentric rings,
much larger for a better sample size.  Make the rings about a meter in
diameter, concentric, with only about a cm between the two.  Then the
outsiders will get stuck in the outer ring, and the fallers and jumpers will
get stuck in the inner ring.

Results so far of the second part of the experiment: the bridge has been
gone for almost all day, and no ants inside as of a few minutes ago.

So here's a question: will an ant starve with food in her paws?

If they do, it will explain how the ants all disappeared when isolated from
the ground before.  They starved and blew away in the breeze.  My reasoning
is that ants apparently run a very simple program: go into tree, get a ball
of nectar from an aphid, take it down underground to share with sisters,
rinse and repeat until dead.

If they get a ball of nectar but cannot return to the colony for whatever
reason, such as some yahoo took away the bridge, there is nothing in the
ant's programmed behavior that says anything about an if statement, such as:
if you get hungry, to hell with the colony, eat the nectar.  I suspect they
lack that piece of code.

If I observe that an ant will starve to death with a ball of nectar in her
paws, well hell, I will just give them back their gak bridge and let them
farm my tree to their hearts content, assuming ants have hearts and paws.



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