Happy days at Ant Course, Venezuela

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Thaumatomyrmex atrox, a rare beauty from the
Rancho Grande cloud forest, Venezuela

This is a relatively short post to introduce myself to Myrmecos readers and to give you a taste of Ant Course 2008. I’m Jo (-anne, I prefer Jo), a starting grad student at University of Illinois in the Suarez lab. My interests are behavioural ecology and evolution, especially of invasive ants, my passion too is ants. My nickname, Jomez, comes from British band Gomez and the Australian adoration of their music.

I’ve recently returned from Venezuela, there is a lot to tell about Ant Course so I’ll break up the posts into bite sized pieces over the coming days. A few ants were bought back live for Alex to photograph (as above), thankfully many were captured in situ by North Carolina Student Benoit Guénard which will be updated shortly, his comments (in French) can be found here.

Posts to come:

  • Daily routine: ant collection and lectures
  • Teachings by the greats of myrmecology
  • More on Thaumatomyrmex and other Venezuelan treasures.

Here’s what the site looked like:

The station at Rancho Grande in the Parque Nacional
Henri Pittier is a sight to behold
.

Upon walking up the steep driveway to the station, we were met with a dilapidated building. Laying out of sight was the primary structure of an unfinished art deco hotel, the third floor houses the Estación Biológica Fernández Yépez.

Estación Biológica Fernández Yépez occupies the third floor
of this grand building

Third floor of the Estación Biológica Fernández Yépez,
home of Ant Course 2008

Behind the station is cloud forest of the Henri Pittier National park. The forest is well known for the bird life, though a number of flora and fauna surveys have been conducted over the years, here is some information on the ants by Ant Course organiser John Lattke (in spanish). It was a great course; a lot of fun, I would highly recommend the course.

3 thoughts on “Happy days at Ant Course, Venezuela”

  1. Jo:
    Congrantulations on completing your ant course in So. Am. Seems it was a great source of pleasure as well as a course of study.
    Things were looking pretty drab today in Ottawa Canada as summer departs and the all to short fall has not yet arrived with its brilliant art form. Then it happened, I came across Alex Wild’s website.
    I am an amature naturalist and belong to the Ontario Entomological Association and the Toronto Ent. Assn. with a particular interest in arachnids and external parasites, especially those that prey on or are symbiotic with insects.
    However, the ant photos on Alex’s site were so well selected and comments about ant morphology and life cycles were so well put that I realize I have overlooked an important class of socials. Thank’s for many hours of enjoyment.

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