Myrmecos

Archives for May, 2010

New Species: Asphinctopone pilosa

Asphinctopone pilosa Hawkes 2010 The discovery of new insect species continues apace. Today, the online journal Zootaxa presents this pretty little ponerine from Tanzania, described by Peter Hawkes. Asphinctopone is a rather poorly-known genus previously collected only in the tropical forests of West Africa. Asphinctopone pilosa is larger than the other described species and the…

Some Turtle Ant Mimics

Biologist Henry Hespenheide sends along this shot of several ant-mimicking beetles and their Cephalotes model: What I take from this image is just how important the appearance of a narrow waist must be to successfully pulling off the illusion. These mimics differ considerably in body proportions, but they have all managed to paint a fake…

Mingus the Cat

This shot was taken in the natural ambience of our living room with the soft light of a rainy dusk filtering through the windows. I coaxed Mingus the Cat to the top of the bookshelf with some treats and waited for him to check out the boquet. Owing to the lack of light I used…

Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

Who was that dashing ant of mystery and intrigue? Tetramorium simillimum is a small myrmicine that has tramped around the globe with human commerce, quietly inserting itself into native ecosystems. Like most insect species, little is known about its behavior or its interactions with other species. JasonC gets a clean sweep: ten points for correctly…

Monday Night Mystery

We haven’t done an ant mystery for ages. So here you go: Although I photographed this little ant in Florida, it could just as easily have been in a number of tropical places. Five points each for the first person to pick the genus and the species. The cumulative points winner for the month of…

The trailer for the 1977 film “Empire of the Ants“:

A tornado hits close to home

Natural disasters are things we see in the news. A flood in Bangladesh, earthquakes in China, wildfires in California- all reported in somber tones before the commercial break, often presented with some generic disaster clip of people sorting through rubble. These events have a defining feature: they happen to other people. Not to us, or…

What does an ant genome look like?

Bits and pieces of an ongoing project to sequence the genome of the leafcutter ant Atta cephalotes have started going up on Genbank- Have a look! Of course, these are just raw strings of nucleotides that haven’t yet been annotated or analyzed in any meaningful way. The real science won’t begin until researchers begin testing…

Heterospilus, undescribed species, Costa Rica My more astute readers may have noticed that Myrmecos Blog has been uncharacteristically quiet this week. I do apologize, but I have a regular research job aside from blogging that periodically requires attention. I’ve been assembling genetic and morphological data from 100 or so wasps in the hyperdiverse genus Heterospilus.…

Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

What was the mystery? It’s a unique-headed bug in the enigmatic family Enicocephalidae. These soil-dwelling insects are predators of other arthropods. They are of phylogenetic interest as a potential sister lineage to the remaining Heteroptera, the true bugs. Enicocephalids aren’t terribly common- I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen them in the…