Archives for April, 2009

Carl Rettenmeyer’s Photographs

I never met Carl Rettenmeyer. I regret this.   Rettenmeyer forms a part of my heritage as an ant photographer.   As a kid, my first exposure to army ants came through Rettenmeyer’s stunning imagery in Ranger Rick magazine.  His photos adorn the pages of E. O. Wilson’s 1971 classic The Insect Societies as well as the…

More ants from Google Earth

Over at Photo Synthesis, commentator Kate directs our attention to Messor capensis, a South African seed harvester whose nests from the air look like some form of fungal growth. Except much, much bigger. (coordinates here: 33° 36’57.32”S, 22° 08’06.38”E) I’ve only got one really crappy photo of the beast, but I’ll subject you to it…

Carl Rettenmeyer, 1931-2009

It is due in large part to Rettenmeyer’s tireless tracking of army ants through all manner of tangled tropical jungle, for months on end, that we know as much as we do about those creatures.  We’ve lost a real giant of myrmecology.

I know where you’re from

Here’s a heat map showing the intensity of Myrmecos blog visitors over the last 24 hours: As a reminder, I’m blogging this month over at Photo Synthesis. Posts in the past week have included bits on ant diversity, phorid flies, google earth, and whirligig beetles.

From the BBC’s excellent, if overly dramatic, wildlife unit: [youtube=]

A paper out this week in Zootaxa reminds us of the hazards of excessive reliance on the worker caste for ant taxonomy.  Phil Ward and Seán Brady sequenced DNA from few genes from the enigmatic Amyrmex, a rarely-collected dolichoderine genus known only from males in South America.  Except, it wasn’t a dolichoderine.  Surprise!  Genetically, this…

Photo Synthesis

Myrmecos seems to have caught the eye of the editors at ScienceBlogs, and I’ve been contracted to inaugurate a new photography site for their network.  Photo Synthesis will be a rotating showcase of science imagery: The internet is home to a wealth of captivating science images, from the many microscopic components of a cell to…

Sorry to keep harping on Hoelldobler & Wilson’s The Superorganism.  But Wilson’s section on ant evolution is so bad, so out of touch with the state of the field that I can’t help but to rant. Both Chapter 7 (The Rise of the Ants) and Chapter 8 (Ponerine Ants: The Great Radiation) are predicated on…


I would love to know what’s going on here.