Myrmecos

Archives for February, 2010

Sunday Night Movie: Driver Ants Mating

A short clip from the BBC program “Ant Attack” [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHoRiFq3ekw] Driver ant males are astoundingly strange creatures. They are larger, more muscular, more exaggerated than most other male ants. The reason is likely linked to the behavior shown in the above video: males must first be accepted by a gauntlet of choosy workers. A classic…

Bob Goldstein’s sublime seminar posters

Bob Goldstein at UNC has been making some truly divine posters to advertise the talks of scientists visiting the Biology department. They are awesome.

Insect Fear Film Festival- this Saturday

Speaking of bug horror movies: If you can make it to Champaign-Urbana this weekend, the 2010 Insect Fear Film Festival will feature The Black Scorpion (1957) and Ice Crawlers (2003). The grad students are assembling art displays, face painting, and an impressively large arthropod petting zoo. The’ve even shipped in live horseshoe crabs, as well…

The Great Ant Escape Incidentally, what’s up with the obvious photoshop job in the accompanying image? It looks like a chorus line. *update* – it seems they’ve swapped the image out for a more sensible one.  The original is here.

The Pea Aphid Genome

The genome sequence of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum was published today in PLoS. Concurrently, a set of supporting papers has come out in Insect Molecular Biology. This genome is significant for a number of reasons- it’s the first Hemipteran genome to be sequenced, aphids have an unusual reproductive cycle, and this particular species is…

Self-portrait…

…at the scope. Photo details: Tamron SP 11-18mm 4.5 on a Canon EOS 50D ISO 800, f4.5, 1/50 sec

Sticky feet!

A video from Cambridge University highlights an infectiously enthusiastic Chris Clemente as he figures out how ants stick to smooth surfaces: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd5upt3IrWM] Wow. Two things strike me about the video. First, they simplified the science for a lay audience without fundamentally changing it. That’s something of a rarity, as any scientist who has seen their…

Zootermopsis

If you think of termites as pasty white squishy things, here’s one that’ll jar your preconceptions. Zootermopsis dampwood termites of western North America have large soldiers- over a centimeter long- that are muscular and well armored. Soldiers are deployed not against predators but against other termites, as colonies within a single rotting log fight when…

Sunday Night Movie: Double Geekery

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luVjkTEIoJc]

As winter doesn’t have much insect activity, it’s the season I use to work on my equipment.  Yesterday I tried out a new arrangement to diffuse the heads on my mt-24ex twin flash when the heads are mounted on long, moveable arms. Here’s a time-lapse video showing the construction, plus a short clip of the…