Announcing Invasive Ant Boot Camp! A hands-on workshop on the biology, ID, and impacts of globetrotting ants. For students and professionals. July 22-24, Gainesville, FL. Please RT! https://t.co/4AkfZkDkG3. #UFbugs #invasion #ants pic.twitter.com/X5NEFbzTPp
— Andrea Lucky (@Aluckymyrmex) June 7, 2019
Clonal Raider Ants, Ooceraea biroi (formerly Cerapachys biroi), are tiny, cryptic ants with a number of features that make them stand out in the ant world.
First of all, they don’t have a separate queen and instead the workers can reproduce asexually, laying eggs that become more workers (hence the name “clonal.”)
Like other army ants, they have a distinct foraging phase (nomadic) and a reproductive phase (statary). They also lack eyes.
The raider part of their names comes from the fact they enter nests of other ant species and steal brood as their primary source of food.
Dr. Daniel Kronauer at the Rockefeller University sees the potential usefulness of this species. He is exploiting genetics and neurobiology to tease apart ant social behavior. You can see more about his work in the video.
(This video is a share and is larger at Scientific American.)
Sounds like a fascinating system to study.
A quick note to let you know I’m going to be doing a bit of spring cleaning behind the scenes on this blog (which means rooting out bad PHP, changing themes, and converting to https).
Hopefully things will continue working without too much interruption. In the meanwhile, enjoy this photograph from the Insects Unlocked Public Domain photostream.
If you live in the North, you might be wishing for an ant sighting about now. The grass is brown and the trees have shed their leaves.
I had to check it out, of course.
The tree is flowering.
It isn’t pollen on the ground. Instead, it is a layer of dropped flowers.
And another, each with an entrance hole in the center. There are eight or nine bright green clumps in all.
It seemed likely they are ant nests.
Can you spot it? Yes, an ant!
Seeing some ants at work in January? That is an unexpected bounty for me.
Have you ever seen Tetramorium gather flowers or other plant material?