As Alex mentioned, I will be standing in here at the Myrmecos blog for a few weeks. I thought I would try and stay true to Alex’s main theme of photo-based posts, but with my own little twist. So, the theme for the next couple of weeks will be ants (and other beasts) of the cerrado.
Even hardened tropical biologists are often unfamiliar with cerrado, which is a unique savanna-like habitat that covers much of central Brazil and small areas of neighboring countries. It is the poor relation in terms of research effort in the Neotropics, as most are drawn to The Rain Forest, but it is a myrmecologists dream. Much like wet tropical forests, an area of nice cerrado will be home to hundreds of ant species. The wonderful thing about the cerrado, though, is that the ‘canopy’ usually tops out at around 5m. This brings all those great arboreal ant species within arms reach, or at least from the end of a small step ladder. That’s me on the ladder, with a motley crew of biologists helping out with the harvesting of an experiment.
My plan is to share with you all a few of my own snaps from within and below the cerrado canopy. They will, I am sure, be biased towards my two favorite groups of ants, the Ecitoninae (a.k.a. the New World army ants) and the genus Cephalotes (a.k.a. the turtle ants), but I will try to squeeze in a few other interesting animals along the way. My hope is that this will be an enjoyable diversion until I hand the reins back to Alex.