biology

Myrmecos

Tag archives for biology

New Species: Myrmicocrypta camargoi

Myrmicocrypta camargoi Sosa-Calvo & Schultz 2010 Brazil The world’s ant fauna continues to yield new treasures. Myrmicocrypta camargoi, described in a new paper by Jeffrey Sosa-Calvo & Ted Schultz, is the largest species in this fungus-growing genus. source: Sosa-Calvo, J., Schultz, T.R. 2010. Three Remarkable New Fungus-Growing Ant Species of the Genus Myrmicocrypta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae),…

Monday Night Mystery

Ok, so we all know this is a wasp.  But what’s with the lumps near the tip of the abdomen? Ten points for identifying the lump, and five points for anyone ambitious enough to put a name on the wasp, too.

Answer to the Monday Mystery

At the time I photographed this little scene (at Bell Smith Springs, Illinois) I was myself unsure of the drama playing out on the oak gall. I sent pictures to wasp expert Hege Vårdal to see if my preliminary guess of a pair of gall parasites was worth anything. Her reply:

Bob Goldstein’s sublime seminar posters

Bob Goldstein at UNC has been making some truly divine posters to advertise the talks of scientists visiting the Biology department. They are awesome.

The Pea Aphid Genome

The genome sequence of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum was published today in PLoS. Concurrently, a set of supporting papers has come out in Insect Molecular Biology. This genome is significant for a number of reasons- it’s the first Hemipteran genome to be sequenced, aphids have an unusual reproductive cycle, and this particular species is…

Sticky feet!

A video from Cambridge University highlights an infectiously enthusiastic Chris Clemente as he figures out how ants stick to smooth surfaces: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd5upt3IrWM] Wow. Two things strike me about the video. First, they simplified the science for a lay audience without fundamentally changing it. That’s something of a rarity, as any scientist who has seen their…

The notion that insect colonies and their constituent individuals are analogous to multicellular organisms and their constituent cells has been a controversial idea for decades. Is it useful, for example, to think of an ant colony as a single individual? Do superorganisms really exist as coherent entities? Or do insect colonies function more as aggregations…

Primitive ant people…

…are at it again: The twilight zone: ambient light levels trigger activity in primitive ants What’s unfortunate about this title is that the judgement “primitive” has nothing to do with the research. It is unnecessary. The study is about how one species of ant uses ambient light levels to trigger foraging.  It’s a nicely done…

Mystery Metazoan

Do any of you know what this little animal might be?  I honestly have no idea, and rather than look it up I thought I’d crowd-source it to you folks first. It was lurking on the underside of a leaf at the Archbold Biological Station in Florida along the shores of a sinkhole lake.  This…

A battle for the desert

While in Arizona, I chanced upon a set of ant fights that I’d observed several times previously.  Single workers of the maricopa harvester ant Pogonomyrmex maricopa would approach a nest of their competitor, Aphaenogaster long-legged ants, and spend a few minutes drawing heat from the guards before wandering off. The interaction is common enough that…