How My Ants Remarkably Survived a Famine

How My Ants Remarkably Survived a Famine
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    In the western regions of the Ant Room, in the mystic kingdom known as the Plateaus of
    Gaia, a trap-jaw ant searches tenaciously through the brush of the territories, for
    a suitable place to bury her recently dead sister, but don't be alarmed by this dead
    Jawbreaker.
    In our last video, featuring this ant kingdom, we created the Plateaus of Gaia to be a self-feeding
    system, where we released a fattened colony springtails to proliferate so the Jawbreakers
    can hunt them down and feed themselves.
    But to my surprise, almost three months later, our springtails were nowhere to be seen.
    They had been over-hunted, leaving our trap-jaw ants without a food source, but hold on, what
    may surprise you is that the trap-jaw ant colony is still alive, and furthermore, has
    in fact doubled in size.
    But how did they manage to remain alive without the springtails, on which their species specializes
    in eating?
    I look forward to showing you how, AC Family.
    It's time to marvel at ant resourcefulness.
    Welcome everyone to the AntsCanada Ant Channel!
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    Welcome to the AC Family.
    Enjoy!
    Alright, AC Family!
    Here's the thing.
    So it turns out our trap-jaw ants exhausted their own food supply, and to be fair, many
    of you guys called it in our last video:
    "I do like the self-sustained concept but I doubt springtails and flies are enough to
    keep the colony fed."
    "I just thought maybe it might be too hard for the Jawbreakers to hunt springtails only?"
    "Will springtails be enough to sustain a big colony?"
    "I don't think the Springtails are enough or reliable as a long term main food source
    though..."
    "Are you sure the Springtails will provide enough sustenance for the Jawbreakers?
    I mean, they are hard to catch, and they aren't that big..."
    At the time, I wasn't worried because these ants are specialized at eating tiny insects
    like Springtails in the wild, and based on how prolific they'd been in our other ant
    kingdoms, I was confident our self-feeding Plateaus of Gaia biological engineering project
    was going to work out beautifully.
    But, when I noticed that the Springtails continued to dwindle down in numbers despite me continually
    adding organics and even roaches, I began to fear that our plans had failed and the
    Jawbreakers were on the brink of death.
    But, guys, ants are survivors, and the Jawbreakers are no exception!
    They've doubled in size.
    Keep on watching until the end, to find out where they've been getting their sustenance.
    In the rubble of the feeding pit, lay the exoskeletal remains of cockroach carcasses,
    laid here in hopes to nourish the Springtails which have now gone extinct in these lands,
    but peeking out from beneath the debris, is a Jawbreaker ant greeting the fresh evening
    air.
    In fact, the Jawbreakers have been quite busy excavating their underground fortress throughout
    the Plateaus since we last saw them.
    I love the various nest entrances they've created leading to their underground tunnels,
    like this one here.
    Or these two entrances here and here.
    But the most active nest entrances are down in the feeding pit.
    Check them out!
    I noticed the ants had created a canyon type nest structure allowing the ants to move in
    and out of various nest holes without actually being "outside".
    Look at them in there!
    Now judging from the amount of ants I see at the surface, I estimate that the ant colony
    has definitely doubled in size, at least.
    Jawbreakers appeared pretty busy in those holes, and wait I do see some Springtails
    in there, too.
    So they weren't extinct!
    And hey, a Jawbreaker was pulling a roach leg from inside the nest?
    Hmmm...
    Could the ants be feeding from the roach body parts I put in to feed the Springtails?
    Usually, I place into the Plateaus of Gaia pieces of watermelon and dried up roach carcass
    leftovers from my other ant colonies.
    I figured the ants weren't eating the roach carcasses because first, from past experience
    with other trap-jaw ants in the past, the roaches were much too big too eat, and also
    much too dry.
    Ants usually need their food to have some kind of wetness to it, which is why I usually
    freshly pre-kill my prey insects when feeding my ants, and don't feed dried insects.
    It ensures the ants can properly suck up all that gooey insect prey guts.
    So dried roaches?
    There was just no way, in my mind, the Jawbreakers were eating any dried up flesh from them.
    Springtails, yes, ants, no.
    So for once, I placed in, just for kicks a proper, freshly killed roach part, to see
    if the ants were willing to accept such large prey.
    It wasn't long before it was discovered, and a few ants came inspecting this sudden fresh
    roach carcass, taking a few strikes at it in various places.
    They seemed more intrigued and curious about the roach, as opposed to interested in its
    potentiality as food.
    I knew it was too big for them!
    And then, what happened next got me rolling on the floor laughing like crazy.
    Watch this.
    Wait for it...
    Wait for it...
    Boing!
    The trap-jaw used its jaw force to chomp down on the roach's exoskeleton and in the process
    launched her outwards.
    She around, seemingly disoriented from the self-catapult.
    Haha!
    As the ants continued to pull and prod on the roach, it was clear to me that the ants
    were likely trying their best to first off kill this still moving thing, inconveniently
    on Jawbreaker territory, a move it out of the way.
    I caught one ant taking a drink from the hemolymph of the roach, but it didn't look like, this
    roach was a popular item to the Jawbreaker's palate.
    This made sense, because trap-jaw ants are known to feed only on tiny insects, not huge
    kills like this.
    Or so it seemed, AC Family, until I saw this.
    Have a look!
    This ant here.
    I was surprised to watch her proceed to rip a chunk off the roach guts and proceed to
    carry it into the nest.
    Hey, wait a sec!
    So the trap-jaw ants were able to eat from large prey if given the chance!
    Alright, but this still didn't explain how the ant colony was able to sustain itself
    for close to three months on dried roaches, and enough to increase in numbers!
    What was the missing character?
    I decided to ponder on this for a bit, and watered the Plateaus as I do every other night,
    and allowed the ants to continue doing their thing.
    I was determined to get some answers.
    In the middle of the night, I returned to the Plateaus to check up on the Jawbreakers.
    Ants were busy on the prowl.
    The added moisture from the watering earlier had made it ideal for the ants to dig more
    tunnels.
    I loved that they were expanding their network of canyons and ant hills, and were even improving
    on holes in the highlands.
    As for the roach, the ants were still working on it.
    Not sure what they'd finally decided to do with this roach, but it did seem like they
    were kind of eating.
    But it still didn't make sense to me how a colony that was doing so well, seemed to be
    thriving off no apparent food.
    I saw an ant carrying a dead member.
    Not sure if this was the same ant we saw earlier, but it did seem she was looking for their
    ant graveyard.
    Speaking of which, I couldn't find where their ant graveyard was!
    Strange...
    There was something going on here, AC Family, and I was determined to figure out what.
    Little did I know, I would...
    The next morning, and it was an incredible discovery I did not expect!
    It was a normal day in the Plateaus of Gaia.
    New ant hills built over night, bubbled from the territory's soil surface.
    Ants were still busy with construction, proudly building new tunnels and entrances for their
    growing ant colony.
    But what about the roach carcass?
    The roach guts had all dried now, but it did seem the ants had managed to remove a few
    chunks of roach meat from it.
    A few ants even came to pick at it here and there, but I knew the roach would be useless
    to the ants now that it was all dried up.
    It would soon join the collection of roach carcasses, I added to the lands in hopes to
    feed the Springtails.
    But as I began to watch the ants busying themselves from within their tunnels, suddenly something
    dawned on me, hitting me like a tonne of bricks.
    AC Family, I believe I had found the missing character!
    What was really going to happen to this dried roach carcass?
    Looking at the ants now, I could never have guessed that the Jawbreakers had much bigger
    plans for this roach, than any of us had ever imagined!
    AC Family, watch this!
    I caught this ant ripping off a chunk of roach meat, it still was a bit slimy, but watch
    what she does.
    She leaves it right at the entrance and heads back to the roach.
    Ok?
    An ant smelled it but left.
    Another ant came to inspect, no interest.
    Were they just going to leave the piece there?
    Eventually, an ant came and carried it into the darkness of the nest.
    The ant then manages to extract another piece of dried roach meat, and it looked like it
    was storing it somewhere and then emerging to return to the roach.
    So they were storing the pieces of roach meat and not consuming them right away.
    In an ordinary case of ant vs dead prey insect, the ants would be consuming the prey insect
    guts and then feeding it to the rest of the ant colony via trophallaxis, i.e. mouth to
    mouth food transfer.
    But in this case, the ants were treating the food like a sort of item of importance, not
    for eating on the spot, but for later use.
    Later use for what, though?
    AC Family, I had an inkling the answer lay in those tunnels.
    I attempted to get in and carefully uncover what was inside one of their busiest of nest
    entrances, but I was met with gnashing trap-jaws and aggressive ants whom I feared would climb
    my tweezers and show me who was boss.
    So instead, I started to dig and prod around, and AC Family, check out what I found when
    I dug deep into one spot that seemed to house a lot of mites.
    I had hit a tunnel, then a chamber, and in that moment, I found our missing character.
    An old roach carcass?
    Deep in their nest?
    But it wasn't the sight of the roach carcass that solved the mystery.
    It was the Springtails I spotted feasting on it!
    OMG!
    AC Family, the Jawbreakers were culturing their Springtails underground within their
    nest!
    This was sheer ant brilliance!
    I covered up the chamber so they could continue to use it.
    AC Family, this is how the ants had managed to survive all this time on dead, dried roaches!
    The Springtails weren't gone!
    They were just all underground!
    The ants would collect pieces of dead roach and culture the springtails underground where,
    I imagine the springtails were much easier to catch!
    Wow!
    Isn't that crazy?
    This was the only explanation I could think of, but it made complete sense.
    Mystery solved!
    And about the lack of an apparent graveyard in the territories, I bet the ants collect
    any dead ants they may find above ground, and bury them underground in their springtail
    farms, to feed the springtails.
    Talk about efficiency, right?
    So AC Family, it seems the Plateaus of Gaia turned out to be much more complex than we
    ever imagined.
    We had certain plans for the way its biological system would work, but the ants improved on
    our initial design and came up with something a heck of a lot cooler!
    This entire story has proven something we discover, time and time again in the Antiverse,
    and that is, that despite our belief that we can understand nature's principles enough
    to dictate how a created system would work, nature is still, and always will be, the head
    architect, and is the one signing off, on the final blue prints.
    Now speaking of incredible workings happening underground, there's a new plot of soil in
    the Antiverse which houses a few creatures that I am positive you guys will truly marvel
    at.
    Creatures that I have yet to feature on this channel, and I can't wait to show our new
    incubating creatures!
    Yes, AC Family!
    Did you enjoy this week's episode?
    Don't the Jawbreakers just blow your mind with their surprise plans?
    And also, I can't wait to show you our new arrivals in the ant room!
    Guys, guaranteed you will never guess what they are, or maybe you will!
    But you know the drill!
    Hit that Subscribe button and bell icon now, so you don't miss out on next week's episode
    when I reveal these mystery creatures, which have something to do with the ant kingdoms,
    and hit the Like button every single time, including now.
    And hey, if you're new to the channel, and want to catch up on all your AntsCanada Lore,
    feel free to binge watch this complete story line playlist here, which traces the origins
    of all the ant colonies of the ant room, so you can follow their stories and better appreciate
    how these ant kingdoms came to be, and why we love them so much!
    AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie for you here, if you would like clues as to
    what our new mystery creatures are, to be introduced in next week's episode.
    Maybe you can be the first to guess correctly, what creatures we will be introducing to the
    channel.
    And before we proceed to the AC Question of the Week, I'd like to plug my daily vlogging
    channel, daily vlogs which have become a full out bird dad channel, as I am now raising
    a baby African Grey parrot!
    If you love birds, I'd love for you to meet my new cute little bird!
    She's quite the character, loves to cuddle, is quite chatty, and is fun to watch grow
    up!
    Hope you can subscribe when you're there.
    And now it's time for the AC Question of the Week!
    Last week we asked:
    Name one of the three things needed to be done to maintain
    the main island of Avista.
    Congratulations to Lazer X Stinger who correctly answered:
    One of the main things needed to maintain avista is to water it.
    We also accepted shaping the branches and feeding of insects.
    Congratulations, Lazer X Stinger, you just won a free e-book handbook from our shop!
    In this week's AC Question of the Week, we ask:
    What made it easier for the ants in this video
    to dig more tunnels?
    Leave your answer in the comments section and you could also win a free e-book 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, and SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed this video to help
    us keep making more.
    It's ant love forever!
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