We have a visitor from France, here to study histerids. This Sunday we went hunting for Hetaerius, a myrmecophilous histerid genus. South of Lawrence, Kansas, Hetaerius are found with Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex) sp./spp.
Our destination was an upland woodland with scattered sandstone outcrops. The sandstone allows for easy (we flip the rocks) access to the nests of ants and termites, and hopefully to Hetaerius.
Our first find: Philotermes sp.
Philotermes sp. runs among Reticulitermes sp. termites with its abdomen curved over its body.
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.
I’ve updated my website and added a pictorial guide to myrmecophiles and termitophiles of Kansas.
Please check it out here.
I apologize for my tardiness.
I promise that I will introduce some staphs from Costa Rica shortly. But, in the mean time, please enjoy a snake from a foray on Saturday.
Rattle snake head
First off, collecting on Saturday was AWESOME!!! I collected, just to name a few: Xenodusa cava, poster child of North American myrmecophiles; a genus close to Myrmobiota; a few more specimens of this genus that I can’t identify (don’t worry, I’m working on it; a Nemadus species I don’t have; tyrines up the wazoo; and Philotermes for DNA!! You can’t see me but I’m doing a little dance as I type.
And, all of this awesome collecting started off with a run in with this beautiful rattle snake, whom was just basking on the trail. She let me take a few photos, and when I tried to walk around her, I guess I was crunching along too loudly off the path, she decided to slither off the trail.
She was rather large, maybe 5 ft, an ID would be greatly appreciated.