The BIG Camponotus dig

This was it! after several failed attempts we came back to the Dead Sea with full intent not to let those difficult Camponotus cericeus ants delay the progress of science any more! This time we took off the gloves and brought a BIG shovel. The amazingly dexterous digger opens a 2X2X1 meter hole in 5 minutes. This took two manual diggers the better part of a day in our previous attempts. We then jumped in and continued the delicate work of extracting the ants with shovels. The ants finally gave in and we came back with a nice loot - samples of hundreds of ants from each of seven nests. These ants made it especially difficult for us, but it was worth it! Next Daphna will start the behavioral experiments, video tracking, and finally RNA extraction, transcriptomic sequencing, and differential expression analysis. If all goes well, these ants will reveal their BIG secret: the genes responsible for social information sharing!