Myrmecos

Archives for April, 2008

Ben Stein’s propaganda flick Expelled comes out today. Since other people have hashed the film to death, I won’t write about Expelled except to make the following observation. This is a graph showing the number of technical publications indexed in PubMed under the search terms “evolution” and “intelligent design”. I threw in a third search…

Araeoschizus sp. Ant Beetle (Tenebrionidae) California Araeoschizus is a small genus of darkling beetle that both resembles ants and lives close to ant nests.¬† It occurs in the arid western regions of North America. Not much is known about the nature of the association of these beetles with the ants, but they may subsist on…

Shish Boom Bam

While googling about for the latest CD by the Rustic Overtones (Light at the End), I discovered that copies of Shish Boom Bam are now selling for as high as $350. Shish is the crappy old recording from 1994 when I used to play trumpet with the band, back when R.O. were all rosy-cheeked teenagers.…

More on the Utrecht Herbarium

Christopher Taylor gives an update on imminent closure of the Utrecht Herbarium, as well as further explanation why this is very, very bad.

Grooming or Aggression?

Forelius mccooki (small ants) & Pogonomyrmex desertorum Tucson, Arizona In last August’s National Geographic, photographer Mark Moffett has a controversial photo essay depicting a large, motionless harvester ant being worked over by smaller Dorymyrmex workers. Moffett’s interpretation of the behavior is this: While observing seed-harvester ants on the desert flats west of Portal, Arizona, I…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UO6YlkYNJQ&hl=en&rel=0&border=1]

Daceton boltoni Azorsa & Sosa-Calvo 2008 Iquitos, Peru If I had to make a list of the most beautiful ants in the world, the honey-colored trap-jaw ant Daceton armigerum would be near the top. Daceton is an unmistakable insect: large, graceful, spiny, with bulging eyes and a heart-shaped head. They live in the canopy of…

I can’t imagine a more unpleasant way to go. This poor oleander aphid (Aphis nerii) has its innards sucked out by a hoverfly larva. photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO 100 MT-24EX flash diffused through tracing paper levels adjusted in Photoshop.

The Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile), a small brown ant about 2-3mm long, is one of the world’s most damaging insects. This pernicious ant is spreading to warmer regions around the world from its natal habitat along South America’s Paran√° River. Linepithema humile can drive native arthropods to extinction, instigating changes that ripple through ecosystems. In…