Big Ants at the Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona is hosting David Roger’s Big Bugs sculpture exhibit. We went to visit today.

Of course I went right for the ants.

The big ants are nicely positioned along the skyline.

At 725 pounds each, these are serious ants!

What, no elbowed antennae?

And of course, little ants…

Note to self:  If all your photographs are out of focus it might be time to clean the lens! 🙂

Empire of the Desert Ants

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.

Ants at the Hassayampa River Preserve

It was threatening rain last night and the humidity was way up. I knew the alates would be flying, so I dragged the family to the Hassayampa River Preserve near Wickenburg, Arizona.

By the time we arrived just before 8:00 a.m., some of the ants were escorting the alates back to the nest.

These males were headed back to the nest.

Here comes one.

Back inside.

Do you think it is typical to have swarming false starts? Seems likely to occur when conditions aren’t optimal, like today when it never did quite rain.

Not all the alates were giving up, however.

Some were ready to fly.

Well, we are officially at the last of July, so the NaBloPoMo challenge is completed. A big thank you to everyone who stopped by, left comments and kept me motivated to keep going. I appreciated it.

And now it is time to swim into August…