Monday, February 04, 2008

Roundup of ant research and some interesting miscellania

Who's scooping whom and why this matters?

An interesting story about "a group of people [who] have made it a habit to scoop their colleagues by publishing other people's information (shown by colleagues in private) and naming species faster by using their in-house Journal" from A Blog Around the Clock
Ants And Avalanches: Insects On Coffee Plants Follow Widespread Natural Tendency
"Ever since a forward-thinking trio of physicists identified the phenomenon known as self-organized criticality --- a mechanism by which complexity arises in nature --- scientists have been applying its concepts to everything from economics to avalanches. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Toledo have shown that clusters of ant nests on a coffee farm in Mexico also adhere to the model. Their work, which has implications for controlling coffee pests, appears in the Jan. 24 issue of the journal Nature." from Science Daily
New Species: Lordomyrma vanua
"Last week’s Zootaxa contained a excellent short paper by Andrea Lucky and Eli Sarnat describing a pair of new Lordomyrma species, including the beautiful L. vanua pictured above. As is true of most insects, Lordomyrma vanua remains a largely unknown quantity. It has been collected just twice, both times from the island of Vanua, in Fiji, for which it is named." Via Myrmecos
Specificity and transmission mosaic of ant nest-wall fungi
"We characterized ascomycete fungal associates cultured for nest architecture by the ant subgenera Dendrolasius and Chthonolasius. The ants probably manage their fungal mutualists by protecting them against fungal competitors. The ant subgenera display different ant-to-fungus specificity patterns, one-to-two and many-to-one, and we infer vertical transmission, in the latter case overlaid by horizontal transmission. Possible evolutionary trajectories include a reversal from fungiculture by other Lasius subgenera and inheritance of fungi through life cycle interactions of the ant subgenera. The mosaic indicates how specificity patterns can be shaped by an interplay between host life-cycles and transmission adaptations." Via PNAS

Isabella Rossellini's bug porn

"Green Porno is a series of very short films conceived, written, co-directed by and featuring Isabella Rossellini about the sex life of bugs, insects and various creatures. The films are a comical but insightful study of the curious ways certain bugs “make love”. “Green” echoes the ecological movement of today and our interest in nature, and “Porno” alludes to the racy ways bugs, insects and other creatures have sex, if human, these acts would not be allowed to be screened or air on television, considered instead as most filthy and obscene." from Twitch
2007 Periodic Table of Elements Printmaking Project
"Ninety-six printmakers of all experience levels, have joined together to produce 118 prints in any medium; woodcut, linocut, monotype, etching, lithograph, silkscreen, or any combination. The end result is a periodic table of elements intended to promote both science and the arts."
What I Killed Today
I found this to be a surprisingly moving record of animals euthanized by one vet tech. Via BoingBoing


  1. Looks quite a great post, It's having good information for research analysis. great job.

  2. Is there any way of knowing how many ants are stepped in one day by one person? Not like an exact number, I don't believe that is possible, but like an estimate?