Myrmecos

Archives for August, 2008

Long weekend celebrations

This video clip looks like it is straight off cute overload, but the sweetness is offset by Of Montreal’s dark sense of humour and heavy bass-line.  This song is Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games), from the album The Sunlandic Twins.   I wonder if somewhere a student writing a thesis on their song…

The Canon 50D

As you may have noticed, for a photography blog I don’t write much about camera gear.  Partly this is because I’m not the sort of person who chases the latest gadgets and gizmos, but partly because I think all the focus on equipment obscures the most important aspects of photography.  Good photography comes from the…

The Demise of the Standard Ant

Juergen Heinze has a must-read piece in the latest edition of Myrmecological News about how ant colonies are not often simple families as we like to think of them: Abstract: The social systems of ants are far more variable than has traditionally been believed. In addition to variation in queen number and queen mating frequency,…

Microphotus angustus – Pink Glowworm California Coast Range Believe it or not, this squishy pink thing is an adult beetle. Now and again, evolution produces a species that loses the complexities of the adult form. These animals simply retain a larval appearance into their adult life, later gaining only the ability to mate and have…

Great to meet you, too.

A perpetually happy Venezuelan Leptogenys We don’t really know why some species of Leptogenys hunting ants sport a permanent grin. The oddly ecstatic mandible shape might, however, have something to do with handling the broadly curved exoskeleton of their preferred prey: isopods (the sow bugs and pill bugs). Flickr user “venwu225″ recently uploaded a fantastic…

Ochthebius sp. Minute Moss Beetles (Hydraenidae) Pyramid Lake, Nevada Tiny flea like specks Move among the algal slime. Oh! Hydraenidae! photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon D60 ISO 100, f/13, 1/200 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper

Basketballs in the trees

On my recent visit to the coastal forests of Kwazulu-Natal I noticed basketball-like growths on many of the Acacia trees.  In North America, any large gray ball you see hanging off a tree branch is liable to be a hornet’s nest.  In South America, it’s probably a carton nest of fierce little Azteca ants. The…

A brief dispatch from the new job

I’ve always been fond of playful and irreverent scientific names, so imagine my delight when I discovered that Paul Marsh, the taxonomist I will be working with over the coming year, is the same Paul Marsh who brought us the classic wasp names Heerz tooya, Heerz lukenatcha, and Verae peculya. I’ll be supporting Paul’s morphological…

Ant Research Roundup, 8/18/08

Both nature and nurture control caste development in harvester ants, forthcoming in The American Naturalist. (via Physorg). An ant slave rebellion? Temnothorax often kill their Protomognathus captors.

Basking in the glory of an SLR

Tetramorium sericeiventre 2008, Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens, MT-24EX twin flash One nice thing about my recent trip to South Africa was that I could revisit the same species I shot on my last visit in 2003. Only, with decent equipment this time around. Check out the difference between the SLR (above) and the little…