Myrmecos

Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

Who were those magical mystery insects?

The ant is Prenolepis imparis, recognizable by the attractive hourglass constriction in her mid-thorax. Congrats to Julie for the answer. The ant’s hapless prey was, as Ted McRae proferred, a hackberry psyllid Pachypsylla celtidismamma (Hemiptera: Psyllidae).

The hard part was figuring out what the heck sort of group the oddball prey insect belonged to. Psyllids are related to aphids but haven’t suffered such extreme modification over the course of their evolutionary descent. They retain all sorts of general buggy traits, rendering them difficult to pick from other bugs (like Cicadas and Psocopterans) that share the same ancestral similarities.

Points are awarded as follows.

TGIQ: 2 points for order

Ted MacRae: 4 points for family and genus

Julie Stahlhut: 4 points for the ant

Comments

  1. #1 ihateaphids
    March 30, 2010

    Hah! I thought it was a psyllid.

  2. #2 Ted C. MacRae
    March 31, 2010

    They retain all sorts of general buggy traits, rendering them difficult to pick from other bugs (like Cicadas and Psocopterans) that share the same ancestral similarities.

    Is this just another way to say they’re primitive? :D

  3. #3 myrmecos
    March 31, 2010

    Grrrrrr…….

  4. #4 How to kill bed bugs
    March 31, 2010

    Love that photo!

    Primitive buggers… ;)

  5. #5 James C. Trager
    March 31, 2010

    Well, your photography skills certainly aren’t primitive. I like the nice, shiny, black-coffee colored [i]Prenolepis[/i], and its unusual (I think) prey.