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Day Three

February 14, 2010

Here’s how things are looking at the start of Day 3:

Let the Tunneling Begin!

The ants are really getting to work now.  I stayed up way too late last night obsessively watching Smithie and Cooper work on that tunnel, although there was a fair amount of activity overall:

  • Smithie and Cooper:  Excavating the Main Tunnel
  • Charlie:  Excavating the area below the Farm House
  • Ruthie:  General Patrol, Renewed Attempts at Vertical Escape
  • Edie:  Moving Dead Ants Around
  • All others: Resting or Dead

I realized I could name them, at least for the evening, because they each continued to work on the same task for the duration.  Making things even easier was the discovery that even if multiple ants are digging the same tunnel, they will dispose of the excavated sand in unique locations.  Smithie, Charlie and Cooper each maintained their own separate mound.  And they were very particular about building that mound – they expended quite a bit of effort to get each bit of sand in exactly the right place, sometimes re-adjusting and re-packing the mound all together.

Cooper created the mound that is just outside the barn doors, so that area will be known as “Cooper’s Mound”.

Smithie didn’t actually create a mound at all, but instead he has been working very hard to fill in the large gap to the left of the silo.  Working so hard at it, in fact, that he would often steal some of the sand from Cooper’s mound rather than going directly back into the tunnel for more excavations.  It is kind of a long trip from the end of the tunnel, over Cooper’s mound and past the barn.

Large Empty Area beneath Silo Ramp

Smithie filled it all in!

It is interesting to note that each ant takes away a piece of sand, moves it to a specific mound, and then makes the trip all over again.  For an insect that is supposedly known for its organizational skills and teamwork, you’d think there would be an assembly line approach.  Instead each ant was really working independently on its task, even when that created extra work for each ant.

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