5.8.09

It’s Not Cheating





After the splendour of the Sonoran desert, we find ourselves working in a lab in the Arizona State University, looking into little glass and plaster models of the interior of ant nests - with living colonies of ants inside. We have been filming some of the amazing social behaviour of the extraordinary Sri Lankan jumping ant. Some would say this is cheating. Perhaps it is. But the truth is that: we don’t have the budget to go to Sri Lanka. Even if we did, we would struggle to find a nest of this species and dig a huge hole next to it. Any behaviour we filmed wouldn’t be 'natural’ because the ants would all be freaking out about the huge hole in their nest. They would run up the lens, sting the operator, and would definitely refuse to act in a calm and relaxed manner. Our film would be worthless.

Thankfully, Dr Juergen Liebig of the ASU has already gone through that particular hell, and not only managed to bring some colonies back to the US, but has also managed to get them to breed in the lab 'like rabbits'. Juergen’s studies of the interesting social behaviour of these ants are what led us to the lab, and are what we are trying to depict on film - in the most natural way possible, with intimacy and the least disturbance of the wild ants.

4 comments:

xl said...

Hats off to the Camera Boys for respecting the predilections of the ants!

kate said...

once again , the doodles are hilarious! hope you're all being spared more nasty bites! -kate

ammonite said...

xl - we take good care of the ants

Kate - Thank you, lab work is definitely less bitey territory

fairyhedgehog said...

This has to be the strangest job of anyone I know!