Best Battle of My Life

Peter picked me up with the truck and drove us to the Pipeline road for my very first time. He showed me an Army ant bivouac inside a tree that he tracked down the day before. Tracking video would be hard to get of the inside of the tree, so I wedged the GoPro 3D and started poking the bivouac to see its movements. I then came up with the idea to take a fistfull of ants and toss them onto a white reflector. Started off simple enough.

Close-up of bivouac inside hollow tree. It smells like funky meat.

LIKE ALWAYS, did not realize the implications of tossing fat piles of angry ants around myself.
These ants are big.
The biggest can bite through my beekeeping gloves (of which I am only wearing one).
The ants are in no formation, have no purpose, are not contianed within the tree. Instead they are infecting the ground everywhere, crawling all over the ground, spreading and climbing up everything coming out of the ground.
My feet are COVERED in them.
Surprisingly I have yet to be bitten by them down there. (UPDATE: starts happening A LOT in the afternoon)

Spending lunch writing and tossing ants off the bridge to the fish below.  A perfectly black moth lands on my boot. Everything in the —(Crazy birds start shouting and screaming down at me, minor bird attack)— jungle must be terrified all the time. The two emotions of the jungle seem to be absolute fear and absolute boredom.

It is getting more and more difficult to keep track of things, and this just my first few days here. Keeping stuff organized is fat and time consuming, and the time keeps slipping away from me. I feel the sun move across the sky as I work nonstop.

Army Ant Soldier Head lodged in my leather beekeeper’s glove

Saw my first Basilisks. They are everywhere. How nice! They are hard to spot unless they move. Also, it seems they won’t run across the river unless they feel forced, and must. Otherwise they will run along the land. They remind me to test out how the army ants’ bivouacs function in the nearby stream.

Back after my first truly amazing ant experience. Remember How I was waxing poetic about how research is embettered by situation in the feild? Well it’s not all roses. And I am not just talking about pain, or hard work. The flipside to situated design is that it turns you into a machine. An Animal. Feeling Weird.

Peter tells me that army ants also sting. This makes more sense as to my symptoms later in the evening. My hand is fully swollen, and I really should have taken my wedding ring off because now it is stuck onto my chubby hands. When I got home, my blood pressure seemed greatly elevated, and I could feel the poison coursing through my body. Everything throbs.


Video of water bivouacs: