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Latest Hymenoptera Stories

2011-05-09 14:42:44

Tropical carpenter ants (Camponotus leonardi) live high up in the rainforest canopy. When infected by a parasitic fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis) the behaviour of the ants is dramatically changed. They become erratic and zombie-like, and are manipulated by the fungus into dying at a spot that provides optimal conditions for fungal reproduction. New research, published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Ecology, looks at altered behaviour patterns in Zombie ants in Thailand and...

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2011-04-26 10:18:02

A plant's sugary offering betrays caterpillars to predatory ants Trichomes, hair-like projections on leaves, are part of a plant's defense against herbivores: they can be obstacles, traps, or reservoirs for toxic substances. The hairs of wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata contain primarily acyl sugars, which are composed of the common sugar, sucrose, bound to branched chain aliphatic acids, compounds that give baby vomit its distinctive odor. Tiny, freshly hatched caterpillars consume these...

2011-03-10 15:14:17

In mathematics, you need at most only four different colors to produce a map in which no two adjacent regions have the same color. Utah and Arizona are considered adjacent, but Utah and New Mexico, which only share a point, are not. The four-color theorem proves this conjecture for generic maps of countries, but actually of more use in solving scheduling problems, scheduling, register allocation in computing and frequency assignment in mobile communications and broadcasting. Researchers in...

2011-03-02 21:30:26

Four new Brazilian species in the genus Ophiocordyceps have been published in the online journal PLoS ONE. The fungi, named by Dr. Harry Evans and Dr. David Hughes, belong to a group of "zombifying" fungi that infect ants and then manipulate their behavior, eventually killing the ants after securing a prime location for spore dispersal. These results appear in a paper by Evans et al. entitled Hidden Diversity Behind the Zombie-Ant Fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis: Four New Species Described...

2011-01-31 13:16:25

A large-scale UC Davis experiment with ants, lizards and seaweed on a dozen Caribbean islands shows that predicting the effects of environmental change on complex natural ecosystems requires a large laboratory. The study, which was led by UC Davis ecologist Jonah Piovia-Scott, is described in today's issue of the journal Science. Piovia-Scott said previous studies have found that environmental changes (such as shifts in temperature, precipitation or storm severity) can affect ecosystems by...

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2011-01-31 09:38:31

Research by the University of Exeter has revealed that ants have a big impact on their local environment as a result of their activity as 'ecosystem engineers' and predators. The study, published in the Journal of Animal Ecology, found that ants have two distinct effects on their local environment. Firstly, through moving of soil by nest building activity and by collecting food they affect the level of nutrients in the soil. This can indirectly impact the local populations of many animal...

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2011-01-26 11:43:21

Studying ants to find out how colony size affects patterns of behavior and energy use How does size affect the organization and physiology of superorganisms such as bacterial communities, insect colonies or human cities? James Waters and Tate Holbrook, graduate students in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, work on answering this question by studying how colony size affects the patterns of behavior and energy use in ant colonies. Social insect colonies are excellent...

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2011-01-25 07:35:00

Future queen or tireless toiler? A paper wasp's destiny may lie in the antennal drumbeats of its caretaker. While feeding their colony's larvae, a paper wasp queen and other dominant females periodically beat their antennae in a rhythmic pattern against the nest chambers, a behavior known as antennal drumming. The drumming behavior is clearly audible even to human listeners and has been observed for decades, prompting numerous hypotheses about its purpose, says Robert Jeanne, a professor...

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2010-12-09 14:07:51

When their razor-sharp mandibles wear out, leaf-cutter ants change jobs, remaining productive while letting their more efficient sisters take over cutting, say researchers from two Oregon universities. Their study -- appearing online ahead of regular publication in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology -- provides a glimpse of nature's way of providing for its displaced workers. "This study demonstrates an advantage of social living that we are familiar with -- humans that can no...

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2010-11-03 12:04:46

But in Britain workers are docile and "Ëœapathetic' compared with 'revolutionary' workers in Spain A new study analyzing how complex, highly-evolved societies are organized in nature has found that it is workers that play a pivotal role in creating well-ordered societies where conflict is minimized. For when it comes to determining who reproduces in ants, University of Leicester biologists have found the humble worker is queenmaker "“ it is they who choose their queen. This...


Latest Hymenoptera Reference Libraries

Jack Jumper Ant, Myrmecia pilosula
2013-07-10 13:00:54

The jack jumper ant (Myrmecia pilosula), known by other names including the jumping jack or hopper ant, is a species of bull ant that can be found in Australia. Its range includes Tasmania, New South Wales, and rural areas of Victoria. This species is unique in that its genome only holds on set of chromosomes, which is the lowest number of chromosomes that any animal can hold. Like other bull ants, this species can build nests under rocks or under dirt mounds. The jack jumper reaches an...

Inchman, Myrmecia forficate
2013-07-10 12:28:46

The inchman (Myrmecia forficate) is a species of bull ant that can be found in Australia, in a range that includes Tasmania and possibly southeastern areas of Australia. This species is gregarious, living in colonies like most other ant species, but it forages for food alone. Nests often go unseen and are typically found under rocks.  It reaches an average body length of up to one inch long, the trait from which it received its common name. The inchman is both a scavenger and a...

0_1b176b063c37655d81f4ab248352d3de
2005-09-12 11:56:41

A wasp is any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is not a bee, sawfly, or an ant. The less familiar suborder Symphyta includes the sawflies and wood wasps, which differ from the Apocrita by having a broad connection between the thorax and abdomen. Also, Symphyta larvae are mostly herbivorous and "caterpillarlike", whereas those of Apocrita are largely predatory or parasitic. Most familiar wasps belong to the Aculeata, a division of the Apocrita whose ovipositors are...

40_7105f67ef0ac80eaa97446c6b40c0af0
2005-09-09 09:51:50

The Bombyliids are a large family of flies with hundreds of genera. Their life cycles are not well known. Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, thus are pollinators of flowers. They superficially resemble bees, thus are commonly called bee flies, and this may offer the adults some protection from predators. The larval stage are predators or parasitoids of other insect eggs and larvae. The adult females usually deposit eggs in the vicinity of possible hosts, quite often in the burrows...

0_883369ca3027116bc769a5aa2feb2314
2005-09-09 09:43:40

The bumblebee is a flying insect of the genus Bombus in the family Apidae and a relative of the common honeybee. The bumblebee feeds on nectar and gathers pollen to feed its young. They are beneficial to humans and the plant world alike, and tend to be larger than other members of the bee family. Most bumblebee species are gentle. From this comes their original name: "Humblebee". Bumblebees are social insects that are known for their black and yellow striped bodies, a commonality among the...

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Word of the Day
omadhaun
  • A fool; a simpleton: a term of abuse common in Ireland and to a less extent in the Gaelic-speaking parts of Scotland.
This word is partly Irish in origin.