Monthly Archives: December 2010

Let’s pay attention to our museums

An article that was circulated amongst the EEB (ecology and evolutionary biology) department today: “Herbaria are a major frontier for species discovery”.

An idea that most well practiced taxonomists are aware of, so nothing new there, but having data that can be statistically defined is another issue all together. I think that this sort of data is valuable in selling the research that I and, some of you readers, do.

It’s short, cute, and elegant.

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You must check out a recent TED talk on neurobiology. It is absolutely amazing where the science is headed. Not to mention, one of the stars of this presentation is none other than our best friend, the fruit fly.

It’s the first talk of the two. The second one good too, but it’s not based as much on data but is more speculative of future directions within the neurosciences.

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Also, another update to the aleos of Kansas.

Fabrasia wheeleri

A few odd members of the former family Ptinidae (now a part of Anobiidae) have taken to living with ants. Some of the most spectacular examples from the New World are species of the genus Fabrasia, all obligate nest inhabitants of Campanotus ants.

Fabrasia wheeleri, dorsal

The various depressions and pits are notably sexy in this group. Also, they have enormously enlarged hind tibiae that house, what appear to be trichomes. Right off the top of my head, I cannot put my finger on any other beetle that houses such structures on their legs.

Fabrasia wheeleri, lateral

The United States has its share of myrmecophilous ptinines, such as Gnostus species from Florida.

More website updates

I’m on a roll. Here are some more website updates:

Aphaenogaster ant shows Myrmecophilus who's boss

I would like to leave readers with this cool pic. It must happen, it makes sense that it would, but I’ve never witnessed it until this photo. Here an obligate ant symbiont Myrmecophilus pergundei had been seized by what should have been friend, not foe, and is being dragged up a tree to a nest.

I’ve collected two species of Myrmecophilus with Aphaenogaster in Kansas, including M. pergundei, so the ant should have been host compatible. Wonder what happened? Was the cricket cruising around and became a meal, was the ant trying to approach the ant and got a little too close, or maybe the cricket was just dead – who knows?

All I can say is that this is totally cool and dragging the poor this by its nape is pretty gruesome.

Myrmecophiles & Termitophiles of Kansas online

I’ve updated my website and added a pictorial guide to myrmecophiles and termitophiles of Kansas.

Please check it out here.