Science

Myrmecos

Category archives for Science

Tapinoma sessile Ant ecologist extraordinaire Rob Dunn sends along the following request: We are looking for live colonies of Aphaenogaster rudis Temnothorax curvispinosus or T. longispinosus Crematogaster lineolata Tapinoma sessile from anywhere within their ranges. If you are potentially willing to contribute colonies we would be very grateful. Please contact Sarah Diamond (sediamon@unity.ncsu.edu) regarding details.…

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…

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…

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…

From the “I-never-thought-I’d-use-this-class” file, I took a semester course once from an oil spill expert. Professor Ed Gilfillan had studied the response of Prince William Sound to various clean-up regimens following the wreck of the Exxon Valdez, and we spent weeks learning about chemistry of oil spills and the factors involved in ecological recovery. The…

Cocoon

An amazing photo posted this week at Antweb shows a developing male Cerapachys ant inside the silken cocoon: (Image by Erin Prado)

How the Aphid got its Pink

A pleasingly pink pea aphid (Acrythosiphon pisum) A long time ago, on a host plant far, far away, an aphid became infected with a fungus. And then it did something unusual: it incorporated some fungal genes into its own genome. New research by Nancy Moran and Tyler Jarvik, published yesterday in the journal Science, used…

A suspicious similarity

Yesterday, Antweb posted its first images of Anomalomyrma workers, and I’ve been staring at them ever since. This is a strange ant indeed, a member of the ancient subfamily Leptanillinae that is potentially a sister lineage to the remaining extant ants. It’s ostensibly a subterranean predator in the forests of tropical Asia, but beyond that…

Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

What was that dazzling sequence of nucleotide bases? Here’s a more holistic view: Aedes albopictus, the Asian Tiger Mosquito The gene was ribonucleotide reductase, which is essential for DNA synthesis. If you followed the BLAST results back through to the paper where this sequence was published, you’ll see that the researchers were interested in this…

I apologize for the slow blogging this weekend. We took a little road trip up to beautiful Madison, Wisconsin and were too busy with bratwurst, cheese, beer, and roller derby to bother with the internet. Atta cephalotes in the fungus garden The University of Wisconsin is home to Cameron Currie, whose lab is at the…