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At 10:15 this morning I deactivated my facebook account. I’ve had the account for over a decade. No more.

I can no longer in good conscience participate in a company whose actions- wittingly or no- have served to increase social and political ills around the world.

What could replace the facebook-sized void, which isn’t really a void since I don’t use it much anymore anyway? I don’t know, but let’s dust off this bloggy blog.

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We are slimming down and decluttering for a clean, fast design while Myrmecos Industries organizes a reboot of this decade-old blog.

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A couple weeks ago a media guy from our College of Natural Sciences, Thomas Swafford, stopped in to shoot a short piece promoting the insect collection. Have a look!

Insects Unlocked - Vimeo

Insects Unlocked from University of Texas at Austin on Vimeo.

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One of the more common ants in eastern North America is, ostensibly, Dolichoderus. I’ve read that, while restricted to particular habitat types, within those bogs and pine forests they are supposed to be abundant. In theory.

Yet in my entire decades-long career as an ant guy, I have never once seen them alive in North America. Anywhere. It got to the point where I was embarassed to admit such a glaring failure.

Anyway. I broke down and finally begged Ant Guru James Trager to send me a few live workers, and James kindly took pity on me. Herewith, at last, photographs of our North American Dolichoderus:

Dolichoderus mariae – Peninsula State Park, Wisconsin, USA.

A grooming Dolichoderus plagiatus worker shows the protruding propodeum that is diagnostic for the North American species of this genus. Baileys Harbor Beach, Wisconsin, USA.

Dolichoderus plagiatus – Baileys Harbor Beach, Wisconsin, USA.

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No longer fighting over a name.

Meet Tetramorium immigrans. 

I have never been more pleased to report a taxonomic name change than this one. Long called “Tetramorium caespitum”, then “Tetramorium species E” once it became clear the Eurasian T. caespitum was a complex of cryptic forms, the pavement ant has spread across the world and is now among most common urban ants in North America. After decades of confusion, Herbert Wagner has published a fine monograph on the taxonomy of the species complex. Among Wagner’s many discoveries was that Santschi’s 1927 “immigrans” was valid for this world-traveller. An apt change, and a fine resolution of a long-standing problem.

source:

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