In Japan, the menus are often on the walls. In this case all over the windows too, but then again it’s more of a night-time place.
… became this.
I also ate this…
… and this too. It’s like eating an arthropod anatomy class.
Then I went to see some X-mas illuminations. These are strung on cherry trees to emulate their blossoms.
I want to introduce a new publication that I co-authored with colleagues at the Kyushu University in Japan.
Neotermitosocius bolivianus Kanao et al. 2012
Coptotermocola clavicornis Kanao et al. 2012
In this pub., we describe two new genera of aleocharine rove beetles in the exclusively termite-symbiotic lineage, tribe Termitohospitini. I really dig this study because it was a truly collaborative effort.
I originally sorted the termitohospitines in the University of Kansas entomological collections, three years ago when I first started my graduate studies, as part of a larger effort to place the lineage in the aleocharine tree of life. In the process, I discovered a new genus but never really did anything with it. When I found out that Taisuke (first author) was working on this group, primarily in Asia, I quickly sent him this material and matured into a great publication.
Members of Termitohospitini all live exclusively within the nests of termites. They are tear-drop shaped (shaped sort of like a horseshoe crab); this body plan has evolved many times among residents of ant and termite societies, and are thought to serve a defensive function, protecting vulnerable appendages under their expanded dorsal body surfaces. The Bolivian new genus that we discovered from the KU collections are peculiar in that they look rather “normal.” Keep your eyes peeled for these beasts next time you venture into a termite colony. They’re sure to be scuttling to safety.
Thanks to everyone that accessed/shared Joe and my guest blog yesterday!
In our blog article, Joe and I touched on the immense subject of myrmecophily. Hopefully we got across the message that this ecology has evolved many many times in staphylinids. This naturally means that the funky-looking mymrecophile morphologies ultimately are derived from normal-looking precursor ancestors.
Here’s a new pub of mine titled: Redescritpion of the genus Apalonia Casey, description of immature stages and reevaluation of its tribal placement.
Apalonia up to now had been considered to be a constituent of the tribe Lomechusini, a group that is comprised mostly of myrmecophilous species. It turns out, though, that most New World taxa traditionally considered to be Lomechusini belong to a different group.
Basically, past researchers were fooled by convergent morphologies that are apparently adaptive for myrmecophily.
In this paper, I use evidence from larval and adult morphological characters to transfer Apalonia out of Lomechusini. Apalonia are not myrmecophilous but fungus-feeding, similar to its close relative Meronera.
Recently Joe Parker invited me to join a guest blog post at Scientific American, the topic being non other than… myrmecophiiles!
Diartiger fossulatus, a consummate obligate myrmecophile. One of many stars in our new guest blog post over at Scientific American.
The post just came out today! Please check it out, spread the good word, and help give these beetles the opportunity to prove themselves under the limelight.
Please enjoy the post with a little Digable Planets on this pleasant Monday morning.