Why Are These Ants Wearing WAR PAINT on Their Faces? (NEW DISCOVERY)

Last Week, we saw the triumphant move of the
Golden Empire, our recouperating colony of yellow crazy ants, into their new ant farm
home. But AC Family, we’ll be moving the Golden
Empire for now to another nearby location of Antiverse, our Ant Room, not too far away. Because today you’re about to see something
not I nor, to the best of my knowledge, even scientists have ever observed ants do before. And I made this intriguing discovery while creating a new home for one of the most
intriguing and odd ant colonies we have, living in the Antiverse – The Blood Legion, our dark
colony of Dracula Ants, who suck the blood of their own young for sustenance. AC Family, prepare to witness something even
more shocking than their blood sucking feeding behaviours, as we watch our Dracula Ants move
into a new estate, and reveal something they’ve started doing to their faces! Are they preparing for to wage war against
me? I sure hope not! But perhaps you might be able to guess why
our Dracula ants have begun to wear what seems to be war paint! So let’s get started. Welcome to the AntsCanada Ant Channel. Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel and hit the
BELL ICON. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! An empty tank gets slid snugly between the
island of Vampiron, our new vampire crab island, and the Arachno Sanctorium, shrine to our
beloved tarantula goddess of the Antiverse, and in this tank of course, today we will
be moving another fang-themed kingdom – the Blood Legion, our queenless ant colony of
Dracula ants. If you’re new to the channel and to the Blood
Legion, these Dracula ants belonging to the genus Stigmatomma are quite and odd but an
interesting species of ant. First, they get their name from the fact that
they drink the blood of their young. Yes, they fatten up their larvae by bringing
them to food as you can see here. Those maggot-like larvae are having a feast
on those superworm carcasses. And the reason they are allowing the young
to feed first on the fresh superworm meat is because the workers, their older sisters,
are fattening them up, and then taking them away once they’ve had their fill. And you know what happens next right? Yup, once the larvae are brought back into
the nest, the adults pierce the larvae’s skin and drink the hemolymph, the technical term
for ant blood. Don’t worry though, as the cuts heal like
magic, and this is how the species has survived for millions of years. Didn’t I tell you they’re an odd ant? And as mentioned earlier, they’re about to
get even odder in a little bit. But they’re not all unconventional, as they’re
also highly adaptable, as we’ve found that they will also eat normally, feeding from
our freshly killed insects like normal ants. This has made caring for them and housing
them super easy over the past 10 months that they’ve been under our care. And so, here we are 10 months later, AC Family,
and it is finally time to move the Blood Legion into a new home, and give them the large estate
they deserve. This is going to be awesome! Alright AC Family, prepare yourselves, for
we are going to do what Creator of Worlds do best. Create the new and lush ant kingdom of our
Dracula Ants. So here was my plan! Are you ready? Now one of the greatest things about Dracula
ants is they’re not the best escape artists! In fact, they can’t even climb smooth glass
very well! This is a great thing because it means we
can do so much more with their living space, kind of like the Jawbreaker’s old home. Remember the Plateaus of Gaia? It was a multi-level series of soil mountains
held in place by wood and moss, that proved to be an excellent home for the Jawbreakers,
i.e. our trap jaw ants which also don’t climb glass. It was this inability to glass climb that
allowed us to build decor so close to the top of the terrarium, without a need for a
barrier, and create an awesomely varied topography that looked super attractive and also created
the perfect habitat for the ants to proceed to number in the hundreds of thousands, before
recently moving to their larger terrarium. Well, AC Family, I had similar plans for the
Blood Legion. I wanted to create a multi-level castlework
of wood, soil, moss, and stone, fit for a growing colony of Draculas. I placed in a couple pieces of driftwood. I rearranged the driftwood until it created
the desired skeleton I wanted. These wooden pieces would be the walls holding
back the soil columns behind. You’ll see what I mean soon. Next, I placed clumps of sphagnum moss into
spaces between the wood. Sphagnum moss is one of my ultimate favourite
building materials for the terrarium kingdoms of our beloved Antiverse inhabitants. It’s highly water absorbent, easy to work
with, and makes any space look naturalistic. Now to add in another favourite building component,
some coco peat medium. This highly absorbent medium is generally
mold-resistent, nicely fills in the ground spaces, and is awesome for ants to tunnel
in. I then added soil behind the wood, and rocks
here and there to help keep shape and integrity of the lands, and after 3 hours of work, this
is what the new future Dracula Ant World looked like! AC Family, behold, the future territories
of the Blood Legion. Doesn’t it look so cool? Let me show you around! This multi-level terrarium construct has one
of the most incredible and drastic landscapes I’ve ever done in a terrarium. It of course has a lower layer, the pit where
I plan on placing the majority of the ants’ food. It’s designed to mimic a wet, tropical forest
floor, perfectly matching Dracula ant country of the wild. And then of course, it’s got a cool upper
region, the highlands, which is highest at the left and gradually slopes downward towards
the right of the terrarium. I really love the collection of plant life
in these lands. They give the territories a certain rainforest
floor feel, which I’m certain the Blood Legion will really love! Arrow plants, vein plants, even a beautiful
creeping plant living epiphytically in that wooden nook made for an attractive vegetation
profile. Now guys, take a look at how drastic the land
is! See that slope? All of that there is soil behind the wood. This arm chair design, highest at the back,
lower on the sides, and lowest at the front makes for a gorgeous view no matter what angle
you’re looking from. See? Isn’t that so pretty to look at? Now what’s even cooler, is I’ve purposely
designed the lands to flow nicely in succession when looking at the three terrariums together. You’ve got a tropical pond, a wet forest floor,
and a drier rockscape. It’s like they’re all connected! I’ve laid down some moss at the bottom of
the pit area to give the forest floor a wetter habitat look. I hope it likes the habitat and continues
to grow! I also feel the Dracula ants will appreciate
all these shaded areas. There’s plenty of places to set up nest tunnels
in these lands! My guess is they’ll really love this upper
region! What do you guys think? One final thing to point out is that the decor
also shoots out of the tank, taking full advantage of the fact that the ants don’t really climb
stuff. So what do you guys say? What should we call these lands which our
Dracula ants, the Blood Legion will be inheriting in just a moment? Leave your name suggestions for the this new
terrarium home in the comments and I will choose my top 5 favourite for us to vote on
in a future video! Alright and now the time has come, guys, to
move the Blood Legion in, and what you will see when they do, will shock you so keep on
watching! Behold the Blood Towers, in which the Blood
Legion has been living for 10 months! But something is different. All the Dracula ants of the colony have congregated
in one of the four ant towers. Every worker, egg, larva, pupa, and gamergate
are gathered here. The reason for this is because I’ve dried
out this ant tower, the one behind it, the whole outworld, and this ant tower here, by
discontinuing watering regimen. This change in moisture distribution in the
lands has induced the colony to move into this one moist Ant Tower here. Look at how many there are now! Isn’t it crazy? These Dracula ants are totally ready and are
at the perfect size now to move into the new home we made for them! With the entire colony isolated in this one
Ant Tower I went in a disconnected the tower from the whole network, and carefully carried
the ants to the new world we created for them! I’m always so nervous introducing ants into
a new world, because I never know how they’ll react. I removed the cover of the Ant Tower. Are you ready AC Family? 1 – 2 -3! In went a bunch of the ants onto the forest
floor of the terrarium! I did my best to move the soil around so that
any ants or brood trapped beneath could wriggle free, though they were still fully proficient
below the soil either way. I also dumped some of the colony in this upper
region. So many ants! Wow! I then dumped the rest of the ants onto this
side of the highlands. There you go, girls! Now AC Family, let’s watch! The Dracula ants immediately began exploring
the territories. At ground level they were excited to check
out the interesting and new lands. They checked out the moss beds and wandered
into the shadows. Some ants explored the sphagnum moss by the
terrarium wings. Many ants began forming trails along the back
rocks at the foot of the soil walls. But AC Family, what I saw next was something
I’d never before seen and couldn’t figure out. Up here in the highlands, the ants were restless
and clearly excited exploring this upper shelf which spanned the entire back end of the nest. I knew it wouldn’t be long before the ants
would start to burrow here. I noticed this ant carrying a larva all around. It was probably looking for a place to keep
the larva while the rest of the colony sought out a hole in the ground to expand downward
into, but guys, do you see anything peculiar? To my surprise, some of the workers had mud-coloured
heads! Look! Now I know it could possibly just be the ants
brushing by tight tunnels in the Ant Tower, but really? All these workers, with nearly the same mud-design
shape on their heads? What in face paint is going on here? I mean seriously, look at that! It was as if the ants were deliberately rubbing
mud onto their heads like war paint! How peculiar! And for what purpose, I wonder! I have never once come across any study of
Dracula ants, or any ants for that matter, applying face paint like this, and to the
best of my knowledge, this is undocumented stuff! AC Family, mark it down! We saw it first! And what was interesting to note was that
not all the ants had this face paint. Some of the ants were paintless, while others
sported the face paint look. It was all just really cool to see! OMG! Could you imagine if this war paint was some
kind of ranking system among the ants? I mean, they are queenless, so they run on
a gamergate system, where only dominant workers are allowed to lay the colony’s eggs! Their whole social structure is based on a
Dracula ant hierarchy! I could see evidence of this hierarchy when
dominant workers went as far as grabbing younger, less dominant workers by the waist, picking
them up and physically carrying them to where the dominant worker wanted the less dominant
worker to go! What are your theories guys on this whole
ant face paint thing? Whatever the case, the war paint made the
ants easier to make out in the terrarium, and I was happy to see that a lot of the ants
had found suitable nesting holes to retreat into and started moving in the brood. Larvae, cocoons, and eggs were all brought
down into the hole. Even at ground level it seems the ants had
found suitable nesting places for brood and were even starting to dig. I decided to let these very strange and odd
ants move into the lands in peace. Good night, Blood Legion and I’ll see you
in the morning! The next day, the Dracula ants had all moved
into the soils and were seen perusing the lands for food. So as is AC tradition, I gave them a house
warming gift, a chopped up cockroach which a couple of them found, and spread the word
to other colony members who eventually came rushing out of their new nests to have a taste. Overall, watching the ants feasting on their
cockroach made me smile inside, knowing that this colony was quite possibly on the same
promising road as the Jawbreakers, hopefully seeing hundreds of thousands of Dracula ants
in their colony in the near future. Though this face painting thing is still quite
the mystery to me, it reminded me that there is still so much that is not studied about
ants. During a chat with Dr. Corrie Moreau, myrmecologist
from Ant Lab in Chicago, Illinois, she mentioned that the world needs more myrmecologists and
people looking at ants, because we’ve just barely scraped the surface. There is literally so much we still don’t
know about ants, let alone about each of the over 16,000 species of ants we’ve documented,
and the rest we don’t even know about yet and have yet to discover! On this channel alone, there have been several
times we’ve observed some pretty amazing, bizarre, and undocumented stuff, stuff that
have even intrigued and stumped biologists. I wonder if you AC Family have noticed something
similar in any of the ants you may be keeping, or perhaps know more about this face painting
behaviour in these Dracula ants? Hey, perhaps we’ll never know what the ants
use that mud face paint for, and I’m ok with it being a mystery as well. Let’s wish the Blood Legion a long and prosperous
life ahead. We did good today, AC Family, and it seems
all was well in the Antiverse today. At least that is what I thought…. For when I looked into the Hacienda Del Dorado
that day, I was not prepared to see what I saw. Oh no! I can’t believe this. They’re back! This is not good! Oh no, AC Family! In case you don’t know what these ants are,
you need to watch our Pharaoh ant series from a couple years ago. They are literal ant murderers and are truly
up to no good infiltrating our Antiverse again. I’m currently doing all I can to keep them
away and ward them off, but I will surely keep you updated on their invasion! So guys, Smash that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL
ICON now so you don’t miss out on the real life drama of the inhabitants of the Ant Room. And don’t forget to hit the LIKE button every
single time, including now! It would really help a lot! Speaking of ants, it’s officially nuptial
flight season in the Northern Hemisphere, and a lot of you are catching queen ants now,
and in case you didn’t know, we’ve got all the top of the line ant keeping gear for you
ant keepers at all levels from beginner to advanced, as well as a tonne of new and exciting
products for the ant keeping community not available anywhere else, so head on over to
AntsCanada.com, and browse through our shop. We ship worldwide, and offer full email support
if you need us. We also have ant colonies with a queen available in most
regions. And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last week we asked: What did we use to
move the Golden Empire into the new Hybrid Nest? There were several correct answers, but congratulations
to Zach Vigneault who correctly answered: You used heat to move the golden empire in. Congratulations, Zach, you just won a free
e-book handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: What was mentioned in this video
that both Dracula Ants and Trap-Jaw ants can’t do? 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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