Showing posts from June, 2020

Ponera Ants on Cladonia

Ponera Ants on Cladonia (8 x 8 in. watercolour) 10 August 2017 found me in Spednic Lake Protected Natural Area, near McAdam, New Brunswick, following Aaron Fairweather around as he collected ants. Traveling light that year, I had decided that all my paintings for the New Brunswick Museum's BiotaNB survey would be in watercolour - a couple of scenes, and several wildflowers... and this painting of a few of the ants we collected, shown exploring a tuft of the Gray Reindeer Lichen, Cladonia rangiferina that was growing near their nest. Ponera pennsylvanica live in small colonies of no more than 60 workers, under stones and in rotting wood, foraging out singly for mites, springtails, and small insects. They are very tiny ants, only about 2.5 mm in length, so I was able to use one of the museum's microscopes to begin the painting in the BiotaNB lab set up in the Lion's Hall in downtown McAdam. For lifelike poses I referred to YouTube videos of this species in captiv