Monday, May 13, 2013

ants ants ants

It took about 30 hours for the teeny tiny ants to discover my opened box of frosted flakes. I thought sealing up the bag with a hair tie would be an effective measure against their invasion, but I was wrong. I got back from the field and found they had fit their tiny bodies into the big Styrofoam box I keep my food in, and were busy invading the cereal. So I put off my hunger and went to work on getting rid of them because there is no way I'm throwing the cereal out, food is too precious here. I poured a bowlful of cereal out and noticed that this disturbance caused the ants to climb up the sides of the bowl and out of the cereal, where I could easily kill them without contaminating the flakes (although the protein might be good for me). So I repeated this until the whole bag was rid of ants and I poured it all into a secure Ziploc bag. These ants are the worst because they can get into anything, they are the smallest I've ever seen; about a millimeter long I'd guess. Anyway, after the ant problem was solved I could go ahead with making my lunch: my signature scrambled egg sandwich, some carrot sticks and a tiny apple.

Speaking of creepy crawly creatures, I discovered a leech latched onto my stomach today while we were in the field. It must have made its way between the buttons of my shirt. That was pretty gross, but I don't think it was there long. I am constantly giving myself a once over for bugs while I'm in the forest. We followed the W group today and boy were they a pain in the behind. There had two separate intergroup encounters with the NOS group, which was really annoying because they were moving around sort of quickly and forced us to chase after them through some difficult vegetation. At one point Julie and I had to squeeze ourselves through a tangle of fallen branches with about two feet of vertical space and even less horizontally. They also decided it would be fun to spend most of their morning in a HUGE fruit tree dropping tiny, hard fruits on our heads while they ate. This tree was very close to the paved tourist trail, which meant fortunately there were little benches we could like down on and look up, so as not to crane our necks as much. However, this also meant (because it is Monday, still close to the weekend) that there were lots of tourists nearby, so we couldn't do the experiment unless they moved to a different part of their territory. Those fruits must have been delicious, because they stayed in that giant tree.

I am confused about why people bother walking through the tourist trail if they aren't actually interested in wildlife. Two out of four groups that passed up walked right on by whole we were standing there clearly looking at the gibbons who were in plain sight. That's an incredible opportunity and they just walked past! Another group; a mom a young daughter and grandparents walked by very quickly, just barely looked up to see the gibbons right above them, and the mom made noises as if she was scared and they hurried along. Only one man, by himself actually stopped to watch the gibbons, he was quiet and respectful.

Although I complain about the W group, they are very nicely habituated and I am grateful to them for giving me such good photo ops. Especially Sari, the female, she is the only female who has sat still long enough, and low enough to the ground, for me to get good pictures of her and her infant. So here you are, probably the only reason you are reading this blog, some pictures:

 A giant roley poley! (about an inch in diameter)
 Sari and infant with Wotan (dad) to the right
 Sari and infant
 William, Sari and infant
 William (Wotan's subadult son)
William and Wotan (darker on left)

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful shots!
    Regarding your ants, you could try making a moat by using a container of water and placing your dry stores on a platform within it. Put detergent in the water, as many of these small ants can walk across water unless you mess with the surface tension.