Archives for October, 2008

Lost Ladybug Project

I’ve blogged a lot about lady beetles recently.  That’s because we have been inundated by them ever since moving to Illinois.  The beetle deluge is not a good thing, though, as ours are nearly all Harmonia axyridis, an extraordinarily pesty species imported from Asia in what must rank as one of the most poorly executed…

Wired on DNA barcoding

Count me among the skeptics who find that “DNA barcoding” is oversold for what it actually delivers.  Nonetheless, here’s a well-written piece about the approach in Wired.

New beetle photos at

Cycloneda munda – Polished Lady Beetle Champaign, Illinois It’s a depressing time to be a lady beetle aficionado in the midwest.  Most of the beetles I’ve seen around town are pesty invasives like the multi-colored lady beetle (from Asia) and the seven-spotted lady beetle (from Europe).  But one native species, Cycloneda munda, is hanging on,…

New Species: Pheidole rugithorax

Pheidole rugithorax Eguchi 2008 – Vietnam In today’s Zootaxa, Katsuyuki Eguchi has a taxonomic revision of the northern Vietnamese Pheidole, recognizing six new ant species for a genus that is already the world’s most diverse.  The revision also contains several nomeclatural changes and a key to the thirty or so species occurring in the region.…

The Irredeemable Ant-Man?

Apparently, the world’s worst superhero is Ant-Man. Great. That’s exactly the kind of press we need.

Cover Photo: Communications of the ACM

Given the hypothermia I endured to shoot this Nothomyrmecia, I am pleased whenever I can put the photographs to work.  Physical discomfort does pay off sometimes, although in hindsight it wasn’t too bright of me to not have packed warm clothes for an ant that forages just above freezing.  Here’s a screen capture of the…

Ant Research Roundup

Highlights from the recent technical literature: Savanna ants more resistant to fire than forest ants. Parr & Andersen. 2008. Fire resilience of ant assemblages in long-unburnt savanna of northern Australia. Austral Ecology. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2008.01848

Here’s a question for my myrmecologist readers.  Has anyone published observations of ritualized fighting among colonies of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants?  I know such behavior was famously studied by Bert Hoelldobler in Myrmecocystus, and that ritual combat has been noted in Camponotus and Iridomyrmex.  The reason I ask is that the pogos in my front yard…

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