Heat-loving Australian ants believe in diversity, hint 74 species new to science

  • September 21, 2017
  • blog

    The ‘furnace ants’ or ‘honeypot ants’ present a very large genus of ants, Melophorus, confined to Australia. Long believed to be megadiverse, some scientists have even suggested that the group may contain ‘well over 1000 species’. However, to this point, only 32 species and subspecies had been described. Scientists Dr Brian Heterick of Curtin University, Dr Mark Castalanelli of Ecodiagnostics Pty […]

    3D avatars for three new rare ant species from Africa including the Obama ant

  • August 31, 2017
  • oo_151796

    Three new, rare ant species recently discovered in Africa were named after important figures for the African biodiversity conservation – the former United States president Barack Obama, the Nigerian writer and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the world-renowned biologist Edward O. Wilson. The scientists from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), […]

    The ‘Star dust’ wasp is a new extinct species named after David Bowie’s alter ego

  • June 22, 2017
  • 10388_Archaeoteleia astropulvis blog

    During her study on fossil insects of the order Hymenoptera at China’s Capitol Normal University, student Longfeng Li visited the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, carrying two unidentified wasp specimens that were exceptionally well-preserved in Burmese amber. This type of fossilized tree resin is known for the quality of the fossil specimens which […]

    The Radiohead ant: A new species of ‘silky’ ant grows fungus gardens for food

  • April 24, 2017
  • Image blog

    The ants of the genus Sericomyrmex – literally translated as ‘silky ants’ – belong to the fungus-farming ants, a group of ants that have figured out how to farm their own food. The silky ants are the less well-known relatives of the famous leaf-cutter ants – well-studied, photogenic model organisms that you simply cannot avoid […]

    Of Star Trek, Mark Twain and helmets: 15 new species of wasps with curious names

  • March 27, 2017
  • P_odo Blog

    A total of fifteen new species of parasitic wasps have been described from across the Neotropical region. Apart from belonging to a peculiar group of wasps distinct with large and elongated bodies, the new insects also draw attention with the curious names they have been formally assigned with. Among them, there are species named after […]

    With flying colors: Top entomology students honoured with wasp species named after them

  • March 13, 2017
  • blog

    The highly divergent parasitic wasps have long been causing headaches to scientists. At one point, taxonomists began using some genera as “dumping grounds for unplaced members”, simply to organise the species. Two entomologists from the University of Kentucky, USA – Drs. Michael J. Sharkey and Eric Chapman, have recently addressed one such issue by describing […]

    Bee species with little known nesting-behavior observed to use plastic instead of leaves

  • March 1, 2017
  • 11290_Megachile patellimana female with a leaf piece and female with cut lengths of plastic.

    Little is known about the nesting activities of some lineages of megachiline bees. Dr. Sarah Gess, affiliated with both Albany Museum and Rhodes University, South Africa, and Peter Roosenschoon, Conservation Officer at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, United Arab Emirates, made use of their earlier observations gathered during a survey on flower visitation in the […]

    New species of parasitic wasp discovered in the eggs of leaf-rolling weevils in Africa

  • February 27, 2017
  • adulto-u

    A new species of parasitic wasp has been obtained from the eggs of weevils, associated with bushwillows, collected and identified by Dr. Silvano Biondi. Given the tiny insect from northeastern Gabon is the first record of its genus for West-Central Africa, the researchers Dr. Stefania Laudonia and Dr. Gennaro Viggiani, both affiliated with Italy’s University […]

    Rarely-seen event of ant brood parasitism by scuttle flies video-documented

  • January 31, 2017
  • oo_111352

    While many species of scuttle flies are associated with ants, their specific interactions with their hosts are largely unknown. Brood parasitism (attacking the immature stages, rather than the adult ants), for example, is an extremely rarely observed and little-studied phenomenon. However, a research team from the USA and Brazil, led by Dr. Brian Brown, Natural […]