Myrmecos

Archives for January, 2008

We often think of ants as paragons of hard work, but a surprising number of species get by through mooching off the labor of others. Trachymyrmex fungus growers, the larger spiny ants pictured above, do things the old-fashioned way. They dig their own nests, send workers out to gather food, and meticulously cultivate the fungus…

Here’s a new excuse…

My lovely wife Jo-anne has been in South America the last couple weeks doing field research on Argentine ants while I tend the home fires here in Tucson. I hope she finds it in her to forgive me for the post I am about to write. Earlier today I got an email explaining why I’m…

Copyright registration

Last week I performed my semi-annual copyright registration ritual, and in the middle of the paperwork it occurred to me that this might make an absolutely scintillating blog post. So, here’s why copyright registration is important, and here’s how to do it. U.S. law is generous towards photographers. Photographs are automatically copyrighted as soon as…

Ant Research Roundup

Finally, a solid taxonomy for the Australian Aphaenogaster:   Shattuck, S. 2008. Australian ants of the genus Aphaenogaster (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1677: 25-25. ABSTRACT: The Australian species of the myrmicine ant genus Aphaenogaster Mayr are revised. Eight species are recognised, four of which are described as new. The species include barbara sp. n., barbigula Wheeler…

Adranes ant-nest beetle California The most exciting finds are often the least expected. I stumbled across this odd little beetle while collecting ants several years ago in northern California. It was tiny, only a few millimeters long, with a little blind nubbin for a head whose sole purpose seemed to be supporting antennae that looked…

An unlikely darkling beetle: Nilio

Nilio species, Tenebrionidae Gamboa, Panama I thought this was a chrysomelid leaf beetle for the first few minutes of the photo shoot. It’s got such a nice round leaf-beetle shape. Not to mention the bright leaf beetle colors. But no. The arrangement of the tarsi (5-5-4) and the short, 11-segmented antennae give away its true…

Filling the Blogroll…

New links for the sidebar: Catalogue of Organisms – Christopher Taylor somehow has time to both complete a Ph.D. in spider systematics AND blog prolifically about all matters invertebrate and taxonomic. I like it because Taylor is a gifted writer and his blog is a fine read. Plus, I have a soft spot for Australians.…

Bugs!

For your viewing pleasure I’ve set up a new Hemiptera gallery at www.alexanderwild.com. Hemiptera are the “True Bugs”, a large order of insects defined by having the mouthparts modified into a hollow beak. You can visit the gallery here: Bountiful Bugs Photo Gallery! I admit being a little embarrassed at how few photographs I have…

Ants from a Kilometer Up

So you like insects, but can’t be bothered to get up from your computer to go look for some? Google earth to the rescue! South of Tucson, Arizona (31°38.097’N 111°03.797’W) I found this lovely aerial image. Visualized from an elevation of about a kilometer and a half, it shows a hill just west of I-19…

A Feast for the Initiated

My review of myrmecologist Carl Rettenmeyer’s DVD “Astonishing Army Ants” was published this morning in the journal Bioscience. Click below to read: A Feast for the Initiated The DVD runs about an hour and is available from armyantbiology.com.