Myrmecos

Archives for June, 2010

Today’s bug news carries sensational reports of a study claiming new evidence linking cell phone use and the dreaded Colony Collapse Disorder. London, England (CNN) — A new study has suggested that cell phone radiation may be contributing to declines in bee populations in some areas of the world. Bee populations dropped 17 percent in…

Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

Loxocera cylindrica rust fly (Diptera: Psilidae) Urbana, Illinois The unmistakable antennae on these amorous insects mark them as psilid flies, and commentator Chris Grinter (of The Skeptical Moth) correctly surmised the species as Loxocera cylindrica. Nine points to Chris, and one to FormicidaeFantasy who was the first to pick the order. This brings us to…

Messor decipiens, South Africa Here’s a photo I took last week. It shows a granivorous ant with an enormous head housing muscles for milling the harvest. I used Canon’s MP-E 65mm 1-5x lens and a twin flash diffused through two sheets of mylar. The last time I photographed this species was in the field in…

Monday Night Mystery

Ok. Now you guys have asked for it. Apparently the mysteries haven’t been quite obscure enough. So here you go. A real challenge: One point for order, three points for family, three points for genus, and three for species. Points are awarded for the first correct guess in each category. The cumulative points winner for…

My review of Mark Moffett’s new ant book appears this morning in Myrmecological News: Let me start with the obvious: Adventures among ants is the most visually stunning ant book ever published. The physical product, from glossy paper to the tasteful font, is an aesthetic tour de force. The photographs are … well, this is…

An insider’s view of an ant colony

A worker cradles a freshly-laid egg in the brood nest of a laboratory colony of the Argentine Ant Linepithema humile. photo details: Canon EOS 7D camera Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec

The Dragonfly Woman

Lethocerus medius, Linoleum block print by the Dragonfly Woman I’ve been meaning to mention Dragonfly Woman’s insect blog, and now I’ve got an excuse. Chris Goforth- the Dragonfly Woman- is an aquatic entomologist and a friend of mine from when I worked at the University of Arizona. Recently, she sent this lovely print of a…

Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

What were those magical mystery circles cut into leaf margins, and who made them? As so many of you recognized, they were the marks of leafcutter bees, furry little insects that use the leaves to make nests for their young. For their correct answers, MrILoveTheAnts gets 5 points, and James Trager gets five points. And…

Have you wondered about the buzz in the air this week? Why the world seems to tingle with the excitement of little wings and millions of jointed legs? No? Well, you’re probably on the wrong drugs. Anyway. This week is National Pollinator Week here in the U.S., where we take time to appreciate the fact…

Monday Night Mystery

Something took a bite out of this leaf: What was it? Three points for the taxonomic order of the culprit, five for family, and two for explaining the natural history. Points are awarded only for the first correct guess in each category. And maybe some extra ones if you get creative with the natural history.…