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BETTER WAY TO STUDY ANTS


Watching a glass-enclosed ant farm wasn’t going to cut it for Walter Tschinkel, professor at the Department of Biological Science for Florida State Univ., Tallahassee, Fla, To truly study the


structure and architecture of subterranean ant nests, he turned to the practice of making castings. He fi rst experimented with plaster and paraffi n casts before incorporating metalcasting techniques to produce aluminum and zinc ant colonies. Tschinkel pours molten aluminum or zinc through the


top of the nests. After the metal has traveled throughout the narrow passageways and tunnels and solidifi ed, he carefully digs out the casting. The result produces a unique and intriguing look at how various species of ants live and nest. Shown in the photo above is an aluminum casting of a nest built by the Pheidole fl oridana species of ant. Visit www.metalcastingdesign.com for a link to a video showing Tschinkel’s ant colony casting process. 


56 | METAL CASTING DESIGN & PURCHASING | Jan/Feb 2013


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