Myrmecos

Archives for May, 2010

Mystery #1 I admit, I like to pick on iStockphoto, the pioneering company behind the high volume/low cost microstock model of media licensing. There’s nothing wrong with microstock. After all, the thriving web-based market for cheap images is a ripe opportunity. But buyers get what they pay for, and they should be aware that a…

Playwright Tom Stoppard retells Shakespeare’s Hamlet as an absurd comedy from the perspective of two minor characters. The brilliant Gary Oldman and Tim Roth star in Stoppard’s own film adaptation (1990). Here’s an excerpt:

Planning the perfect shot

Aphaenogaster woodland ants disperse a bloodroot seed. This image materialized in my head a couple months before I actually set it up. My photographs fall into two categories: incidental shots I happen upon by chance, and premeditated images mapped out in advance. There’s not much to say about the first type. I wander about in…

Time for a little rant. I’ve been assembling the syllabus for a summer beekeeping course here at the University of Illinois- the first time we’ve offered beekeeping as a regular class in over 30 years- and I’ve run into an annoying snag: the lack of a suitable textbook. There’s no shortage of books about bees.…

Anochetus paripungens

Anochetus paripungens trap-jaw ant carrying a cocoon, Australia photo details: Canon EOS 50D camera Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec twin flash heads placed in front and behind the subject.

Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

You folks are quick. Not two minutes after I posted yesterday’s mystery bug, commentator FormicidaeFantasy provided the correct answer: it is the forelimb of a praying mantis. Specifically, a nymph of the Carolina mantis Stagmomantis carolina. So, eight highly valuable Myrmecos Points go to FormicidaeFantasy. A number of you chimed in with additional relevant information.…

What is ISO?

You’ve seen the ISO button on your camera. What does it do, and why does it matter? ISO- an abbreviation for International Organization for Standardization- refers to a standard measure of the sensitivity of film or digital sensors to incoming light. The higher the ISO rating, the more sensitive the sensor and the less light…

Monday Night Mystery

This looks like it could be painful. What is it? Five points to the first person to name the organism, and five for the structure. The cumulative points winner for the month of May will win either 1) any 8×10 print from my insect photo gallery, or 2) a guest blog post on the (safe-for-work)…

A clip from the documentary “Ants: Nature’s Secret Power“:

The Boneyard Bombshells (red) take on The ‘Paign (blue) in Champaign-Urbana’s first ever roller derby bout How many rocket scientists does it take to set up a roller derby bout? Apparently, the answer is two. That’s how many were on hand Friday night to help lay the track for Champaign-Urbana roller derby‘s sold-out exhibition bout.…