James Glasier gave an enthusiastic talk on ants to the Red Deer river Naturalists on Oct. 25 1012. James is a graduate student at the U of A and his specialty is ants.
James has done some field work and found around another 50 species of ants in Alberta. This makes 92 species in Alberta. A couple of species are found only in Alberta. Several species are in the at risk category. Most of his studies were done a short distance north east of Edmonton where he set out ant traps and then went to work identifying what he caught. It's painstaking work to identify ants because to begin with ants are very small. The details of color, shape and size used for identification makes it a challenging effort.
James also covered a wide range of ant behavior. Many ants are parasitic on each other. There are many ingenious forms of parasitism used by ants. Organization and size of colonies also varies greatly.
So quite a few people who just thought ants, so what?, came away with a completely different view of ants.
This was James's first public presentation and he did an excellent job and I would highly recommend him as a speaker.