Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

Cephalotes pusillus, major worker (Image by Scott Robinson - BugScope)

I’m going to have to make the Monday Mystery harder. Last night’s SEM image lasted all of 6 minutes before army ant expert Gordon Snelling picked the structure (the clypeus) and the family (Formicidae), and another two minutes before Brazilian myrmecologist Flávia Esteves nailed the genus (Cephalotes).

So, six points to Gordon, and four to Flavia.

The SEM depicts a major worker of a turtle ant, Cephalotes pusillus, a common tree-nesting insect in South America. Majors use those massive heads as doors to block the nest entrance, like so:

Cephalotes spinosus, a related species (Ecuador)

[thanks to BugScope for the image!]

9 thoughts on “Answer to the Monday Night Mystery”

    1. Roberto Keller

      I have to blame my failure to organize my time efficiently. I don’t know how you manage to keep a consistent output of good posts, while doing all your research, photographic and other life activities!

  1. Have you considered hiding replies to the MNM for some amount of time (a few hours)? You could then award partial credit to those who weren’t first, but still got in before the discussion was disclosed.

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