Ants vs. Dragon’s Breath

Ants vs. Dragon’s Breath

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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!

11 thoughts on “Ants vs. Dragon’s Breath”

  1. I'm curious why that any regurgitated that black pellet. Are they like owls? they have to throw up parts of food they can't digest? Idk I never seen that before.

  2. 2:39 Mikey is the sweetest guy ever!
    Although Mikey’s the one doing all the work, he always makes us feel included in his amazing journeys and discoveries, so far as to include us in crediting possible future scientific papers!
    I love you Mikey, and you’ve sparked #AntLove in me!

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