Myrmecos

Archives for August, 2009

Like Ants? Like Beer?

Here’s your chance! Anheuser-Busch has invited consumers to pitch ideas for a Bud TV spot that will run during the Chinese New Year in February 2010, Advertising Age reported Wednesday. The spots must feature ants, which have starred in A-B commercials during the Chinese New Year for the past decade. From five finalists picked Tuesday,…

Pyramica clypeata

Pyramica clypeata Urbana, Illinois photo details: Canon mp-e 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper

Here’s why blogging of late has been a little…uninspired: We’re busy with all those projects that are acquired with an old house.  This weekend we are painting the kitchen and dining room.  To the extent that Mingus the Cat will let us.

New Ant Genera

Biodiversity discovery continues apace.  The past couple of weeks have seen not one, but TWO new myrmicine ant genera. First, Shattuck described the Australian Austromorium: Then this morning, Fernández et al introduced a pretty little yellow ant from Brazil, Diaphoromyrma: Neither of these new ants show any unambiguous relationship to existing ant genera.  But that’s…

Are ants left-handed?

In case you were wondering, ants turn out to be ambidextrous. Instead of favoring one side or the other as we humans do with our hands, ants show no preference for working with either mandible.  That’s the conclusion of a new study by Cassill & Singh: Abstract: The elongation and sharp teeth of ant mandibles…

An interview with the Bug Chef

The best way to cook a certain kind of caterpillar and make it taste really nice may not be the very best thing to do with a grasshopper. One you might want to parboil, the other one you might want to stir fry. I’ll give you a good example. A friend of mine and I…

Will Microsoft Own Phylogenetics?

As if we systematists didn’t have enough to worry about with the worldwide extinction crisis and the dwindling presence of taxonomists in academia, now we’ve got the vultures lawyers laying claim to the primary tools for our science. Microsoft is trying to patent phylogenetics. No, seriously.  Read the patent application. I doubt that this particular…

Engorged nestmates

Paratrechina longicornis Florida Their abdomens swollen with sugar water, two black crazy ants (Paratrechina longicornis) share a moment.  This species has traveled around the globe with human commerce and is now common in warmers regions worldwide. photo details: Canon mp-e 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D ISO 100, f/13, 1/200 sec, indirect…

Carol Kaesuk Yoon opines: We are, all of us, abandoning taxonomy, the ordering and naming of life. We are willfully…losing the ability to order and name and therefore losing a connection to and a place in the living world. No wonder so few of us can really see what is out there.

A battle for the desert

While in Arizona, I chanced upon a set of ant fights that I’d observed several times previously.  Single workers of the maricopa harvester ant Pogonomyrmex maricopa would approach a nest of their competitor, Aphaenogaster long-legged ants, and spend a few minutes drawing heat from the guards before wandering off. The interaction is common enough that…