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Today we're featuring Kaitlin M. Baudier, PhD who is currently a post doc in the Social Insect Research Group at Arizona State University.

Dr. Baudier is the creative force behind the AntGirl YouTube Channel. Check it out, particularly the ant playlist.

To give you an idea of her content, here's her video of a Pogonomyrmex barbatus mating swarm.

Isn't that incredible? Being close to a social insect swarm is an amazing experience. I hope to see a full blown harvester ant mating swarm like this one some day.

What else does she work on?

Besides social insect swarm aggression research, she also studies tropical ecology and animal behavior. She has some great videos of tropical species, like the ants versus stingless bees.

Ever seen those odd tubercles on ponerine larvae?  (If not, the Mississippi Entomological Museum has a close up of an Ponera pensylvanica larva here.) Dr. Baudier is also interested in studying their evolution throughout the subfamily ‎Ponerinae. Take a look at her poster about "sticky fingers."

If you'd like to learn more, visit her website.

Did I mention she's also an artist?

I mentioned in recent post that the black harvester ants Messor pergandei are also reported in the older literature as Veromessor pergandei.

After seeing a 2017 article which used the name Veromessor, I decided ask for an update from one of the authors, Dr. Christina Kwapich, who is currently at Arizona State University.

Dr. Kwapich was kind enough to explain that the status of the name had been up in the air until Ward et al. (2015) used DNA techniques to sort it out during a major revamping to the ant subfamily Myrmicinae. So, Veromessor pergandei it is.

Check out Dr. Kwapich's research on Veromessor in this video.

Ant research at Arizona State University from ASU Now on Vimeo.

She let us know that she's doing some work on worker size and nest architecture that will come out this summer. We're looking forward to it.

Kwapich, C. L., Gadau, J., & Hölldobler, B. (2017). The ecological and genetic basis of annual worker production in the desert seed harvesting ant, Veromessor pergandei. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 71(8), [110]. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-017-2333-1

Ward, P.S. S. G. Brady, B. L. Fisher, T. R. Schultz. (2015). The evolution of myrmicine ants: phylogeny and biogeography of a hyperdiverse ant clade (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Systematic Entomology. 40 (1): 61–81. DOI: 10.1111/syen.12090