Myrmecos

Archives for February, 2009

Gnamptogenys mordax

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/13, flash diffused through tracing paper

Those of you who were into ants in the early ’90s might remember SimAnt, a simulation game where you control the decisions your ants make to steer a colony to dominance over a competing species in a suburban lawn. The game is based, in part, on the optimality equations summarized in Oster & Wilson’s 1978…

Insect Fear Film Festival Imminent

Just a reminder.  The infamous annual Insect Fear Film Festival (this year’s theme: centipedes!) is happening tomorrow night on campus here in Urbana-Champaign. More information: http://www.life.uiuc.edu/entomology/egsa/ifff.html

Don’t let the pretty colors fool you. Trichodes ornatus, like many checkered beetles, is a fierce predator whose larvae attack the young of wood-boring insects. photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS D60 ISO 100, 1/200 sec, f/13, flash diffused through tracing paper.

Exquisite Glass Insects

A comment left on this blog last week alerted me to the sublime glasswork of artist Wesley Fleming.  Wow. Not only are the pieces aesthetically stunning, they are also largely anatomically accurate.  Legs attached to the right spots, tarsal segments counted out, tibial spurs in place. If you have a few minutes, do yourself a…

Thought for the day…

I’ve never understood the controversy over the Superorganism concept.  It isn’t as though organisms themselves are all that clear-cut, especially when considering oddities like social amoebas and lichens. photo details: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS D60 ISO 400, 1/10 sec, f/2.8

The latest upload concerns three species in the subfamily myrmicinae that have been traveling about the globe with human commerce.  Solenopsis geminata, the tropical fire ant, is the most worrying of these tramps, but the other two, Pheidole moerens and P. obscurithorax, are rather poorly known and probably merit more study than they receive.  Click…

Flu

If you’re wondering why I’ve been posting more than usual the last couple days, it’s because I’m home with the flu.  When wrapped in blankets and doped up on Sudafed it’s a lot easier to futz around on the internet than attempt any actual work. It turns out that flu levels are at their highest…

Ant News Roundup 2/24/09

What’s new in ant science this week? Lots. Myrmecological News has posted a pair of studies online.  The first, by Martin Kenne et al, observe the natural history of one of Africa’s most conspicuous yet chronically understudied arboreal ants, Atopomyrmex mocquerysi. The second, by Jim Wetterer, is part of a continuing series on the global…

This request comes from Michael Branstetter: I am working on a broad-scale phylogeny of the ant genus Stenamma and am in search of fresh specimens from the Old World.  Stenamma is a cryptic genus that is most often collected in forest leaf litter.  The genus is primarily Holarctic in distribution, but also has representatives in…