Myrmecos

Archives for November, 2008

Lady beetle in slow-motion

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC61ZA4uWbs] I sometimes wonder if a major reason why most people don’t really get insects is the difference in pace between how we and how the insects move in the world. Insects live faster than we do, their everyday motions an erratic, unintelligible blur to our sluggish perceptions.  But slow them down so that we…

My copy arrived from Amazon the day before yesterday.  I’ve not given it anything more than a couple cursory thumb-throughs, but I’m immediately left with the impression of schizophrenia. The bits on social organization, behavior, communication, and levels of selection- mostly Bert Hoelldobler’s sections- seem an engaging and modern review, while the chapters dealing with…

Priacma serrata – Bleach Beetle California Priacma serrata is an enigmatic insect from the conifer forests of western North America and is one of a handful of species belonging to the relictual beetle suborder Archostemata.  It is often thought of as a “living fossil”, bearing a strong resemblance to the earliest known beetles that pre-date…

Big Sister, Little Sister

Leafcutting ants of the genus Atta have perhaps the most complex caste systems of all the social insects.  Mature colonies contain millions of workers of varying shapes and sizes.  Here are two sisters from opposing ends of the spectrum. photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D ISO 100, f/13,…

Lonely

What does it mean to be an eyeless ant?

In the comments, Rob Clack asks: I’ve just read about Martialis on Panda’s Thumb and have a question. If I interpret it correctly, your cladogram shows Martialis to be the sister group of all living ants. Since it was blind and many living genera are not, that presumably implies that vision evolved independently within modern…

Birth of a parasite

A young adult Comperia merceti, a parasitoid wasp in the family Encyrtidae, emerges from the egg case of its cockroach host. photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D ISO 100, f/11, 1/200 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper

Dear Australia,

While you’re at it, why not just have a good old-fashioned book-burning?

Brian Taylor’s “Ants of Africa”

I am still working through the South African ant photos I took this July.  Progress is slow.  I’m not terribly familiar with the African fauna, and the species have to be keyed out and checked against the literature so I can post images with the proper identification. All the same, I’m not 100%. What I’ve…

Saturday Video: Tim Minchin

Sometimes, it’s best not to interject statistics into your personal life. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaid72fqzNE] h/t Podblack Cat