Monday Night Mystery

“Ah, an easy one!” you might think.

But no. I’m only handing out 4 points for identifying this common Illinois ant species. I’m more interested in this ant’s quarry, for six points: 2 each for order, family, and genus. First correct guess in each category gets the points.

The cumulative point winner at the end of April gets an 8×10 print from the gallery, or a guest blog post on a topic of their choosing.


  1. #1 TGIQ
    March 29, 2010

    Order: Hemiptera

    Family: Cicadidae

  2. #2 TGIQ
    March 29, 2010

    scratch that…

  3. #3 Julie Stahlhut
    March 29, 2010

    I’m thinking Prenolepis imparis for the ant. The prey is a bit weirder — the antennae make me think Coleoptera, even though the wings are unusual. It would be easier if the mouthparts were visible ….

  4. #4 TGIQ
    March 29, 2010

    Drat. Now that my brain sees “cicada”, even though the antennae and wings are clearly all wrong, it refuses to entertain other possibilities. I’m going to go sleep this off and hope someone with insight can set me straight tomorrow.

  5. #5 peteryeeles
    March 29, 2010

    I’m thinking that Alex has glued a beetles head to a cicada’s body….

  6. #6 myrmecos
    March 29, 2010

    That’s a great idea for next week, Pete.

  7. #7 JasonC.
    March 29, 2010

    No, I’m late again! I say Prenolepis imparis is the ant. The prey is a psocopteran (or psocodean, or whatever the order is called now).

  8. #8 TGIQ
    March 29, 2010

    Or, at the very least, beetle antennae on a cicada head and body, and cleverly altered caddisfly wings.


    Real funny, Alex.

    Now I’m really going to bed.

  9. #9 Julie Stahlhut
    March 29, 2010

    I’d been thinking Psocoptera too, but the antennae don’t seem right. Of course, the head’s at the wrong angle to get a good look at the clypeus.

  10. #10 peteryeeles
    March 29, 2010

    Those filiform, clavate antennae just scream Coleoptera to me, but those wings are just wrong. Maybe it’s the angle of the photo.

    If no one gets it, I’d love to see a few closer crops of the head before you post the answer…

  11. #11 JasonC.
    March 29, 2010

    Here is my verdict so far: The ant is Prenolepis imparis, the false honeypot ant, because of the characteristic constriction on the alitrunk/mesosoma thingy. Its prey is of the order Psocodea, family Amphientometae. Genus ID is pending.

  12. #12 Ted C. MacRae
    March 29, 2010

    I don’t know about the ant, but the prey is:

    Order: Hemiptera

    Family: Psyllidae

    Species: Pachypsylla celtidismamma

    Common Name: Hackberry Psyllid

  13. #13 peteryeeles
    March 29, 2010

    Superb Ted. Had a google, and I agree.

  14. #14 Ted C. MacRae
    March 29, 2010

    p.s. man, I wish I could get to these earlier in the evening!

  15. #15 JasonC.
    March 29, 2010

    Aw well. I was looking at this, and it was sorted under Psocoptera:

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