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July 21, 2010
After some consideration, I have decided to move Myrmecos back to its original location: http://myrmecos.net/ I apologize for making everyone change RSS feeds and bookmarks twice in recent months. What's worse, I can't promise that Myrmecos won't move again in the near future. Some intriguing…
July 10, 2010
I've posted all I'm going to say about Pepsigeddon here.
July 6, 2010
And while you're doing that, I have answered the Monday Mystery back at my tried and true wordpress blog. I will be blogging at the old digs for the next few days until I have had time to digest the unfortunate recent events here at Scienceblogs. What's going on? I'll let my excellent sciblings…
July 6, 2010
Eristalis, the drone fly Urbana, Illinois Easily mistaken for a bee, Eristalis is in fact a clever mimic capable of luring many an unsuspecting observer into the land of amusing taxonomy fail. But the structure of the antennae, the broad attachment of the abdomen to the thorax, and the presence of…
July 6, 2010
I would like to point out that when an Australian says "pot plant", they mean house plant. We had some issues with this linguistic distinction when Mrs. Myrmecos first moved here from Melbourne and started telling everyone about the great pot plants we were growing on the porch. I do congratulate…
July 5, 2010
Ok, bug experts. Who is this charming little insect? Points will be awarded for the first correct guess: five for family and five for genus. The cumulative points winner for the month of July will win either 1) any 8x10 print from my insect photo gallery, or 2) a guest blog post on the (safe-for-…
July 5, 2010
Our garden bees, photographed yesterday evening: As you may have noticed, in painting our hives we've eschewed the standard hive whitewash in favor of pleasing pastels. But we've got nothing on the hive art produced by other beekeepers on the web. Below the fold is a selection of my favorites…
July 3, 2010
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…
July 2, 2010
Leptinotarsa decemlineataUrbana, Illinois Meet the Colorado Potato Beetle. If I had to make a list of ten insects all people should know, I'd probably put this one on it. Leptinotarsa decemlineata is a walking case study in evolutionary ecology. Anyone with a potato patch will recognize this…
July 1, 2010
Forensic entomologists, of course. These are the strong-stomached folks who study the arthropod fauna that colonizes dead flesh. Their knowledge of insect taxonomy, ecology, and development can be used to provide estimates of the time and conditions of death. Or zombification, in the present case.…
July 1, 2010
I woke up to the shocking discovery that I've been turned into some sort of Zombie: The great thing is, I seem to attract more ants this way. With any luck I'll get silphids, too. (artwork by Joseph Hewitt, creator of Gearhead)
June 30, 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…
June 30, 2010
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…
June 29, 2010
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…
June 28, 2010
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…
June 24, 2010
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…
June 24, 2010
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
June 23, 2010
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…
June 23, 2010
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…
June 22, 2010
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…
June 21, 2010
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…
June 20, 2010
Apropos of Paraguay's victory in this morning's world cup match against Slovakia, here's a photo I took almost 15 years ago: This is a local match in the Paraguayan community where I lived as a Peace Corps volunteer. Our team, from Colonia 11 de Setiembre, beat Ype Jhu 2-1. But that's not why I'm…
June 19, 2010
A dagger fly (Diptera: Empididae), eating a fly it caught.Shawnee National Forest, Illinois Among the insects, one lineage in particular excels in the air: Diptera, the flies. These animals have evolved a gyroscopic control system that's faster and more efficient than the standard insect sensory…
June 18, 2010
Asaphidion yukonense
June 16, 2010
[The following is a guest post by Rob Mitchell] Rob here, back again with your answer to this week's mystery... not that you need it! And here I thought I was being tricky. Six points to FormicidaeFantasy for hitting the order, family, and genus, and another four to Gordon Snelling for making…
June 15, 2010
I haven't posted any ants for awhile. So here is a pair of little carpenter ants from the back yard: Camponotus nearcticus Camponotus caryae Most people in North America think of carpenter ants as the big hairy black things that damage houses by chewing through older and dry-rotted wood. That's…
June 14, 2010
[the following is a guest post from Rob Mitchell] Hi folks - Rob Mitchell here, guest blogger extraordinaire and your temporary replacement for Alex while he celebrates a recent age-related milestone. My job tonight is to provide you entomology sleuths with a mystery, so take a look here at…
June 11, 2010
Glischrochilus sanguinolentus Bell Smith Springs, Illinois Just for you guys, here are some portraits of a colorful sap beetle in the family Nitidulidae I encountered in southern Illinois last weekend. It's a charming little insect, especially the cute, clubby antennae. The challenge with shooting…
June 9, 2010
You may have noticed I've been blogging rather lightly in recent weeks. That's because I start teaching an introductory course on beekeeping next Monday. It'll be a great class, I hope. But the preparation has cut into blogging time something fierce and will continue to do so through August. In…