Myrmecos

Archives for June, 2008

Off to South Africa

I’m leaving shortly for the 2008 International Congress of Entomology in Durban, South Africa. This means another break from the blog for me, but when I return in mid-July there will be plenty of African insect photos.  St. Lucia, where I’m headed the week before the conference, has African weaver ants, Polyrhachis, Tetraponera, and host…

A living plush toy

A close-in crop of the body: photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec exposure

Forelius Flying

Yesterday’s unexpectedly intense monsoon storms brought several inches of rain and flash floods to Tucson.  Many of our desert ants cue their mating flights with the onset of the summer rains, and this morning the Forelius were flying, congregating in dense swarms that twirled and twisted above the desert floor.

Waiting for the monsoon

Arizona has five seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, and Monsoon. Monsoon is my favorite. By late June or early July, intense summer heat on the interior of the continent sets up a weather pattern pulling tropical moisture up from the south. After several weeks of baking at 106° with not a cloud in sight, the…

Picked Clean

Via GTDA comes this mesmerizing time lapse video demonstrating the efficiency of ant recruitment: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gZNTW1cSsE]

Pheidole tepicana

A century ago, William Morton Wheeler inked this iconic illustration of the striking polymorphism displayed among members of an ant colony. You may have seen it; Andrew Bourke and Nigel Franks used it as the cover for their 1995 text Social Evolution in Ants. I always assumed Wheeler’s figure depicted some exotic tropical marauder ant,…

Back.

We celebrated the repair of our computer by having a KitKat.  A British Kitkat, that is.  I never liked the cheap corn-syrupy flavor of the American version.   But the original british kitkat is a world apart- it’s really quite good.  The chocolate actually tastes like chocolate.

Start Wearing Purple

Yes, the computer is still in the shop.  But there’s still Gogol Bordello and what is quite possibly the world’s best song: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_81l4DXlwM]

An Update

The computer is still broken.   So here at Myrmecos Blog we’re still on vacation.  I should be back online within a week or two.

Derobrachus hovorei – Palo Verde Borer Cerambycidae Tucson, Arizona Every June, hundreds of thousands of giant beetles emerge from beneath the Tucsonian soil. The enormous size of these beetles- up to several inches long- makes them among the most memorable of Tucson’s insects. They cruise about clumsily in the evenings, flying at eye level as…