We are members of the club 'Saint Joseph's Antstitution', a group of 30+ students interested or currently engaged in the hobby of ant-keeping headed by the Level Head of Secondary 1, based in the independent school 'Saint Joseph's Institution'. We have gained approval from the principal to make this dream become a reality.
What is Ant-Keeping?
Ant-keeping is the care of family Formicidae species by providing them with basic necessities such as soil (depends) water, food and a home. Each and every ant requires different needs which affects the difficulty of keeping them that vary depending on type (semi-claustral/fully claustral), in terms of diet, Species like Pheidole(big-headed ants) and solenopsis(fire ant) will readily consume almost anything while other species like the Trapjaw (Odontomachus Simillimus) and the rarer Mesoponera Rubra are very picky eaters, habits (e.g. semi-claustral colonies require an open space (outworld) to hunt for live prey else they will not consume it) and other more specific traits (e.g. the ants from genus diacamma have no queen and rely on female gamergates to reproduce, Giant Forest ant (dinomyrmex gigas) has a large size and requires a tank.
Before starting on this hobby, you would need to do proper research and preparation in a matter of days after catching your first queen and identifying it using a taxonomy key or seeking help on the relevant ant discussion forums, or for the case of Singapore, the Singapore Ants Facebook page. You can also buy an ant colony but prices may vary ranging from $0 to $200 or even more, depending on the species, number of workers and queens and habitat type.
What is the 'Ant Museum'?
The ant museum is a large project using the space in two science laboratories to host exhibitions in tanks and test tubes and also include other specimens from the phylum Arthropoda such as scorpions, wasps, spiders etc. We currently have 5 large ant colonies (200+ workers) and over 50 founding colonies (only nanitics present/less than a month old). We are currently negotiating for the addition of space so we can exhibit more creatures.The Ant Museum also tracks down the species of ants and insects in Singapore.This not only keeps track of the endangered species of ants like the Harpegnathos venator, the museum also contributes to the myrmecology community.
What is the purpose of this?
The ant museum is planned to open by the end of the school year and we are putting all our effort to make it happen quickly. We want to let other students in our school view our hard work and be exposed to one of the least-known hobbies around the world. There will be information board all around to educate our peers on the specific details of each exhibition and will be letting them interact with the ants such as feeding them. We hope that this act can build our school towards a society where insects are not looked down upon.
Why do we need the funds?
Since this club is not and does not have sufficient content to be considered a 2nd CCA, we do not receive any funding from the school. Since ant-keeping is like keeping a pet, we need constant income to continue on. The funds we receive will be used to do the following tasks:
Buy worms/crickets etc. for the ants from fish stores
Buy formicariums or tubes to allow when the need arrives to upgrade an ant colony from a test tube when the colony gets too huge
Buy equipment/materials to either help in our ant-keeping procedures or increase the interactive experience for our peers (e.g. forceps, microscope etc.)
The funds obtained will be used to improve our services(eg: Better microscopes, better formicariums(ant farms) etc)
If you have donated/want to spread the word of this, please share this with your friends.Thank you.