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Gut loading your ants????

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Posted by kumpfamily on September 04, 2002 at 22:56:29:

In Reply to: Awsome! You answered all kinds of Qs i\'ve been mulling over> posted by Pennebaker on September 03, 2002 at 14:11:18:

:Hi Gordon,
:Granted, i'm feeling a little dum right now about the fungus thing! I guess i had put tid-bits of facts together over the years about ants and had come-up with a very inaccurate picture. I really should learn more about ants, darn-it!
:For some reason, I was under the impression that they took the food to their chmabers and converted it into useable nutrients for the pupae and other ants. I had heard that many ants actually harvested the fungus that grew from their food sources. I guess i overgenralized and applied this info incorrectly. Thank you very much for setting things straight for me!

:The second point you made is quite useful as well and basically justifies my doubts and fears about trying to supplement HLs by feeding ants a particular diet. While this method seems to work well enough for other insects and other lizards, i have always been skeptical that it was doing anything measureably beneficial for the HLs. I'm always looking for ways to increase vitamin and mineral availability for HLs in an effort to provide the variation HLs get from different ants at different sources and the other insects they eat at different times of the year. Knowing that HLs are sensitive to conventional reptile supplementation, I'm constantly looking for methods that are more natural, less intrusive and or voluntary.
:I guess i better start looking into areas other than ant supplementation, LOL.
:Thanks again for all your help.
::Hi Loren
::I will let Lester handle most of this as he has far more experience than I do with HLs. The one misconception you apparently have is that all ants eat fungus. So far as is known that is only true for a few genera of ants here in the US. Overall they feed on more tradtional items. In general the fungus growers are not going to be a regular (if at all) food item for the HL due to nocturnal habits (depends on conditions), extreme spininess of bodies. etc In general it is a case of you are what you eat as you have hinted and consumed nutrients will be passed along however Ant larva are the big eaters and are the ones capable of eating solid foods. The adults typically only eat liquids and if it seems that they are eating greens and such the most they would be doing would chewing them and consuming the liquids.
::However to try and answer your question, I would say that calcium transfer is probably very limited in the scenario you put forth. If the larva eat the high nutrient, then change to adults the nutrient they consumed will be mostly used up and not readily available in the adult ant. I do feel your approach of hydrating the ants and feeding them well is very good approach, if the ants are well fed they will logically contain more available nutrients for the lizards. I hope this is coherent and makes some kind of sense. it is really early in the morning. I am sure Lester will have more to say on aspects I have not thought of.

Loren, now I have a question. I am a bit confused on how you are gut loading your ants. I care for them based off the care-sheet from That is I keep the sand damp, and spray down the sides of their tank. I feed them small pieces of oranges for added liquid. Additionally, I keep 1,000 ants in a ten gallon acqaurium in a room set at 68 degrees. Just trying to figure out how you are getting more vitamins into your ants thanks!

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