We’ve once again fallen rather silent for over two weeks, yet throughout the past month or so, our devoted readership has sent us a steady supply of premier ant content. Below, we present you a list of seven interesting items we almost allowed you to miss!
Are you interested in the phrase “dangling ant asses”? Of course you are. Thus, you will now use […]
Basically, we just like the name of Xymmer, an ant genus with two known species found mostly in Africa but also reported from Southeast Asia.
The great Swiss myrmecologist Auguste Forel (1848 – 1931) once observed that “the greatest enemies of ants are other ants, just as the greatest enemies of men are other men.” In general, this maxim appears true – with exceptions. Once such exception was reported in 1977 in the journal Nature, by myrmecologists James H. Brown and Diane W. Davidson. These two researchers found that seed-harvesting ants compete with seed-eating rodents (!) in the Silverbell Bajada near Tucson, Arizona.
Cemeteries are known locations of an abundance of human bones. But cemeteries are not the only site where human bones have been deposited, in both modern and ancient times, and investigations of such bones, wherever they are found, can often tell us a lot about traumatic injuries, environmental changes, cultural histories, and a number of other phenomenon that might interest anthropologists, including forensic anthropologists. However, interpreting bones can be difficult. Various destructive factors can change the shape and other features of bones over time, and thus the more we know about processes of bone destruction, the more we can know about the other phenomena associated with the bones.
And here’s where the ants come in. A paper published earlier this year, in Forensic Entomology, formally reports a discovery that previously had only been the subject of speculation and anecdotes: direct modification of human bones… by ants.
There is an African ant species of tiny workers that lives in big trees. In these big trees, […]
One of the more stunning biological discoveries to date is that organisms like ants are not merely individual organisms, but also hosts to trillions of bacteria. Some biologists have increasingly focused on this “microbiome”, and naturally work in ants is no exception. A few months ago, a group of ant researchers discovered yet another cool thing about ants and their microbiome!
If you’re anything like us, you’ve been spending a lot of time lately wondering about ant species coexistence. How can there possibly be 13,384 species of ants, when so many species have overlapping niches in space, food resources, and other traits? Shouldn’t the most competitive ant species ultimately drive all the others to extinction?
Dedicated readers of our myrmeco-media outlet will remember our first editorial (that went mildly viral) on efforts by the vertebrate media to bury the lede (ants) with a dinosaur tail. We’re happy to report, via Fossil Correspondant Dr. Regan Dunn, that ants are actively asserting their dominance over the paleo realm.
Dedicated readers of The Daily Ant may remember that earlier this year, we featured myrmecologist Dr. Adrian Smith and his work on ant babies. Such readers may also remember our coverage of the Field Museum AntLab’s Dr. Shauna Price in a Theatre Thursdays installment. Well, recently, the same Dr. Price shared with us a marvelous BBC feature on ant babies from last spring. Although we do not endorse some of the vertebrate framing (“No one would call a baby ant cute.” Srsly?), we definitely recommend that everyone read the article and come to appreciate just how cool ant babies really are!
It’s hard to believe it, but it’s true. What started out one year ago from yesterday as a podunk formicid-friendly online media project with an inaugural post on loving your house ants has grown into a podunk formicid-friendly online media project with 196 published articles. Whether you’re joining us now for the first time, or have traversed the long foraging trail of myrmecological justice since the very beginning, it’s time to consider what we’ve accomplished together.
In a recent episode of the (wonderfully named) Science for the People podcast, University of Illinois – Chicago PhD student Anika Hazra interviewed myrmecologists Stephen Pratt and Simon Garnier. You may remember Hazra, also a myrmecologist, from her great antforgraphic on ant colony optimization! Now check out her engaging and informative interview of Pratt and Garnier, on ant intelligence, here.