Archives for December, 2008

Alex Collects Ants

Today we have a guest post by myself, from 25 years ago: It was my very first ant publication, printed on the back page of a biweekly family newsletter.  The ants I later determined to be Lasius flavus, and I am happy to report that the species still abounds at my old haunts in upstate…

Sunday Night Movie: Carmichael and Shane

There will always be enough love to go around. Just not enough bicycles… [youtube=]

Yes, I like Tiger Bettles.

Do you like Tiger Bettles? If so, you may have a future as an Entumalejust.

Cat Macro

Macrophotography, as applied to Mingus the Cat. photo details: Canon 35mm f2.0 lens with a 12mm extension tube, Canon EOS 20D ISO 400, f/5, 1/100 sec, indirect strobe

Saturday Ant Links

Roberto Keller uses his new blog to explain the acidopore. Sylvia Cremer et al dissect the evolution of Lasius neglectus supercolonies in PLoS ONE. Popular reviews of Hoelldobler and Wilson’s “The Superorganism” can be found in Slate Magazine and the New York Times.  Jon Seal provides a scientist’s take in Myrmecological News. China has executed…

Metrius contractus Oregon, USA Many biologists are familiar with the Bombardier Beetles in the ground beetle tribe Brachinini, as their defensive tactic of aiming an explosive spray has been studied extensively.  The Brachinini are even celebrated by creationists as animals that couldn’t possibly evolve. As it turns out, though, bombardiers have evolved at least twice.…

Wrong on Amblyopone

The correct pronunciation of this ant’s name is Am-blee-ah-pon-ee, with the emphasis on the antepenultimate syllable and the final “e” audible.  But I don’t know anyone who says it that way. Every English-speaking myrmecologist I know calls it “Am-blee-oh-pohn“, with the final “e” silent.  That’s a shame, because the right way is also prettier.  I…


I don’t ordinarily hang around animal carcasses.  But every now and again I’ll brave a fresh roadkill to shoot the parasites as they jump ship from the cooling body.  Fleas and lice are fascinating creatures, and as they are hardly ever photographed alive I can capture some unique images just by staking out a common…

Silent Extinctions

Linepithema flavescens, a small yellow ant from Haiti, is one of the species I re-described as part of my Ph.D. dissertation.  All we know about this ant, apart from the brief notes on the specimen labels, is the external appearance of a few workers.  Queens and males haven’t been collected.  No one has studied its…

Blog Memes I: Five Things

Evolving Complexity tagged me in.  Here they are: 5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago