Do you get the BBC TV channel? You might want to look around to see if Natural World: Empire of the Desert Ants is playing. It looks fabulous! (or if you live in the U.K., try this link. It doesn’t work in the U.S.)
Cinematographer/photographer John Brown spent 150 days in the Arizona desert filming honeypot ants, Myrmecocystus mimicus. He was able to get some incredible footage of multiple queens founding a nest together, as well as nest raids, etc.
Check out the video clip about the queen and photographs in the article Honey Ant Queens Share the Throne, as well as this YouTube segment from the BBC about a honeypot colony raid on another, smaller honeypot nest.
With some digging, I found that AntsEngland has also loaded up the entire series on YouTube, starting with the first segment.
After you watch the series, look at the bottom of John Brown‘s website, you can also find a link for a free .pdf file of a BBC Wildlife Magazine article on honeypot ants.
Let me know what you think.
5 Replies to “Empire of the Desert Ants”
1 (linked; 9:02): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qtT7MlWI7Q
2 (8:36): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgpS_qARlr4
3 (10:27): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf6iwHWHh5g
4 (9:07): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wblkLH0T0b0
5 (9:21): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK9mh-0Djh4
6 (9:16): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rZTw_4aVKA
I appreciate you taking time to leave the links. It is pretty cool.
Thanks for the tip! Amazing film. They said in here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-14474376 that he filmed some captive colonies for the “underground” scenes. I wondered how could he links the two stories so well. The invasion of the other colony and that beetle entering in the the nest and those scenes that happened really above ground, in the corral. Do you know how could he do that? What about the scenes of the other Natural World film about Dorylus ants, Ant Attack? Do you know how do they manage with the bivouacs for filming such intimate behaviours?
My guess is that they use remote controlled cameras on sliding platforms. Probably also used medical video equipment. Some of the newest video cameras designed for the medical field are pretty small. http://www.gizmag.com/medigus-worlds-smallest-video-camera/18559/
Here’s a bit of the behind the scenes story http://blog.wildaboutants.com/2010/11/23/filming-army-ants-is-not-fun/
the video is not available for my country :/