Archives for February, 2009

Study invasive ants on Christmas Island!

From my inbox, a postdoctoral job announcement: The Department of Botany, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia seeks to appoint a Postdoctoral Fellow to conduct research in Invasion Biology on Christmas Island.  Over the last decade, supercolonies of the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes have spread across island rainforest and caused a variety of significant…

Hexapod Haiku

sparse japanese verse: arthropod celebration? hexapod haiku.

Sunday Night Movie: Henri

A film by Will Braden: [youtube=]

New Insect Wallpapers

I’ve created a set of desktop wallpapers to fit the newer 1680 x 1050 widescreen monitors. To put any of the following on your desktop, click on the image. Once the large version loads to your browser, right-click and select “Set as desktop background.”

Meccas for Myrmecology: Mobile, Alabama

The port city of Mobile, Alabama holds special significance for students of ant science.  Jo-anne and I took a weekend trip down to the gulf coast in January, and as we are both myrmecologists we felt compelled to stop and take a few photographs.  Not only is Mobile the childhood home of ant guru E.…

Jewel scarabs emerge during Arizona’s summer monsoon, and collectors from around the world descend on the region with their blacklights and mercury vapor lamps to attract the beetles. Chrysina lecontei is the smallest and rarest of the three Arizona species. photo details (both photos): Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D ISO…

A query from the inbox: Hi, my question is regarding the gender of the worker ants (and the ant queen). As we all know; they are female, however was this discovered many centuries ago or is this a recent discovery? I plead ignorance.  I know apiculturists had figured out the sex of worker bees in…

The Spider Ant Hunts

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS D60 ISO 100, 1/200 sec, f/11, flash diffused through tracing paper

The Taliban Beetle

Meet the Taliban Beetle. I took this picture in 2004 while visiting the collections at the Natural History Museum in Basel, Switzerland.  For reasons I was unable to discern, a coleopterist working in the collection in the late 1990’s had intended to name this new Afghani ground beetle after the country’s ruling party at the…

New Study: Older Ants are Better Workers

A study out in pre-print by Muscedere, Willey, and Traniello in the journal Animal Behaviour finds little support for a long-held idea that worker ants change specializations to perform different types of work as they age.  By creating colonies out of different age classes in the ant Pheidole dentata, the researchers showed that older workers…