For those who think ants aren’t good for anything useful, check out this video from Smarter Every Day:
This is an environmental ad campaign waiting to happen!
Last weekend, many people from OIST, myself included, traveled to the Hiji Falls in northern Okinawa. Before heading along the trail to the waterfall, I encountered this sign:
Despite a rainy morning, there was in fact an abundance of nature along the trail, perhaps energized by the afternoon sun. I unfortunately was not able to capture many in-focus shots of the various insects and other arthropods I encountered, but I did manage to get some photos of some interesting critters.
Myremcos posted a great video yesterday, and I was pleased to discover that the clip is only one of many wonderful entomological tales of struggle created by Minuscule, a French TV series. After enjoying the video below, make sure to check out some of the other episodes linked at the end!
The genus Pheidole is important to me, as one of my research activities this year is taxonomic work on the Pheidole across several Pacific islands, including Fiji, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and the Federated States of Micronesia, as well as some others. The big heads always help to make the work enjoyable, but the diverse group is also quite difficult to work with, as the specific identification of morphospecies is made challenging by the number of species and the limited amount of previous taxonomic work on the genus in areas such as the Pacific islands. There are no reliable keys to species, for example. But hopefully this work will help shed some light on the phylogeny and taxonomy of this large, widespread genus!
Some members of my REU group and I went to the Kanopolis State Park this weekend, and there I found a plant that had these little nodule things from which various insects were taking food. As I am not a botanist, I’m not sure what the purpose of these are. My best guess is that this is an “ant-plant”, or myrmecophyte, a plant that has mutualistic adaptations that benefit ants, often in exchange for defense provided by the ants. But if this is the case, then the ants seem to be slacking a bit! The photos below show what I mean:
Meaning I found it on the pavement in Kansas.
More pictures coming soon!