Archives for September, 2009

Pulling a centipede from its burrow

Photographed this weekend in Dixon Springs, Illinois: photo details: Canon mp-e 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D ISO 100, f/11-f/13, 1/250 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper

Sunday Night Movie: Drunk Squirrel


Last week at the Vermillion River Observatory I collected this alate queen of Proceratium silaceum, an odd and highly specialized subterranean predator of spider eggs.  Once I finished photographing the ant I pickled it in 100% ethanol.  The specimen should be in good shape for DNA work. As Proceratium is both relatively uncommon and phylogenetically…

Citronella Ants

Lasius claviger citronella ants Vermillion River Observatory, Illinois

New Ant Genus: Propodilobus

It’s been nearly three weeks since the last new myrmicine ant genus was announced.  An eternity, it seems.  I’ve been going through novel-myrmicine-ant-withdrawal after a spate of descriptions earlier this year.  Where will we be able to satisfy our craving for new and difficult to distinguish myrmicines? Zootaxa, of course.  This week Michael Branstetter gives…

I nominate Polyergus for the worst common name among ants: Amazon Ants.  I’m cranky this morning and for some reason this has been irking me. I now know they were named for their habit of raiding other ant nests, but I spent much of my childhood thinking they were some exotic tropical creature found in…

A striking result from recent studies on the co-evolution of leafcutter ants and their fungus is that the two lineages do not show a tight pattern of coevolution.  That is, the evolutionary relationships among the fungal lines often deviate from the phylogenetic trees shown by the ants.  When ant populations speciate, the fungus doesn’t follow.…

By request, I have now organized the ant photos by subfamily.  This mimics the arrangement from the old site.  For the smug-muggers out there who want to know how it works, I basically set up an “old journal” gallery and put the genus names and links into the caption box.  I used CSS to set…

Her Royal Highness

This weekend we took a trip with some entomology students to the Vermillion River Observatory.  The astronomical function of the observatory has long been abandoned, but the site remains as a lovely nature reserve and one of the closest patches of decent forest habitat to where we live in Champaign-Urbana. The acrobat ant Crematogaster lineolata… is dead

Long live! By way of a replacement, the ant photos are now over at Advantages of the new site include: