Have you ever heard of Robert Gregg of Colorado? He’s connected to the eighth wonder of the world, in St Petersburg, in my mind at least.
Gregg died in 1991, famous among ant lovers for having written the seminal book The Ants of Colorado published in 1963. He identified and was allowed name many ant species in Colorado during his decades of searching them out.
Ants have been with us for at least 125 million years. We know this because an impression of Cariridris bipetiolata was found in Crato in Brazil. However, much of what we know about ancient ants comes from the unfortunates that have been smothered and preserved in amber. I won’t rewrite antwiki so here’s a link instead (yes, ants are very, very popular).
The eighth wonder of the world was stolen during The Second World War. No one knows where The Amber Room went after it looted and transported to Königsberg. Did it survive intact, in part or was it firebombed? It was originally a gift to Tsar Peter the Great
The Soviets decided to rebuild it in 1979 and after much careful work, the new Amber Room opened in The Hermitage in St Petersburg in 2003. They restored the room using some 350 shades of amber. The Soviets had to recreate the expert carvers since that knowledge had been lost.
I wonder how many ants are in The Amber Room. And how many were mummified in the original ambers when the room was first constructed in Berlin between 1701 and 1707. It seems that 100,00 pieces of amber were carved for each version of the room.
Ants have been on my mind since they featured in a post a few weeks ago. ‘The ants he saw were walking along the rail of a wooden fence. One had died. The marching ants stopped and circled the body of their comrade. One stepped forward, picked the body up and purposefully, went to the edge of the rail and dropped the corpse into ant-scale oblivion.’
I only learned of Gregg earlier this morning. I went looking for more about the life and work of this remarkably dedicated biologist. It’s now known that there are at least 178 species of ants in Colorado. My antsearch that started at antwiki brought me to this page of Colorado ant mugshots from antweb and that was what I wanted to share with you. Fascinating ant mugshots.
While Gregg is honoured by those that continue to carry the torch of his obsessional interest, ants themselves are honoured by the ant mimicking spiders. Really.
And then there was a rainbow in the evening sunset while it drizzled light rain. I said ‘I think I’ll get a camera. It would make an amazing shot if some goldfinches were to sit on that tree’.