Sunday, May 15, 2005

Nature observations

I've been engaged in some naturalistic pursuits lately. One, a rather curious caterpillar landed on the family car the other day and we took it and put it in a jar. Everything about it seemed quite ordinary except that it had a big bulbous green head. It looked almost as if it was a caterpillar trying to consume a pea, but it was quite clear that the green head was fused to the rest of its body. By the next morning, it had not eaten any of the leaves we put in for it, but had produced copious amounts of waste, to put it mildly. About 10 pellets. And by the afternoon, it had become a yellow cocoon! Unfortunately, I was out the whole day so I didn't see it weaving itself in. I wonder how long they stay in their cocoons, and what sort of butterfly it will become. If any readers recognise my description of the caterpillar, let me know!

The second experiment is an ant colony. I bought, rather on impulse, this Antworks set a few weeks ago. (Read the linked website for a full description & pictures.) We set out on an ant-collecting expedition today, and quickly discovered why Antworks offers packets of ants for sale. They're devilishly quick! It took a while to gather just 11, and that's nowhere near the 20-25 recommended. The ants we got also seem a bit on the bloodthirsty side. There are ant parts lying around the colony, and at least two of the ants seem to have been badly damaged. On the plus side, though, they seem avid diggers, so hopefully we'll see some beautiful tunnels - if they don't kill each other first. Another advantage is that they don't seem to have climbing feet, and can't climb up the walls of the colony, which makes it a lot easier to put new ants in, unlikely the ants we find in our kitchen. From my observations today, it looks like they have a cooperative system, with one ant digging down below and other ants passing the debris up. Very Great Escape-ish.


Blogger Lizard Queen said...

I am posting to all the Antworks blogs out there, in the hopes of preventing others from making the mistake of purchasing an Antworks Space-Age Habitat from Antworks Toys.

It's been a four-month ordeal for me, complete with heaps of dead ants, disgusting mould and mildew, and appalling customer service. I would strongly discourage anyone from buying this product.

For the full gruesome story, please visit

1:44 PM  

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