Ants overeat, too

Prenolepis imparis, the winter ant.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*update* And on this day of Thanksgiving, we give thanks to John LaPolla for new taxonomic monographs bringing structure to the ant genus Nylanderia:

  1. Generic overview
  2. Africa

Enjoy it, nerds.

8 thoughts on “Ants overeat, too”

  1. Henry (Rob) Robison

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wife! Loved the “stuffed” ants! Keep up your most important work and photography.

  2. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the Nylanderia papers. Seán Brady tells me that a paper on the invasive species Nylanderia pubens is also in press.

  3. Prenolepis does have temporary repletes, but it gets more complicated. From Water Tschinkel’s work on this ant – http://www.springerlink.com/content/p78177q5578q1635/fulltext.pdf – during their first winter, the workers of the year are literally fattened up, as they convert the food with which they are stuffed to fat, stored in the “fat body” (roughly, the liver). This is then converted to a glandular food used to feed the larvae of the single brood that is reared the following summer. After using up this fat the ants convert (undergo metabolic changes in activity and physiology of digestion and cuticular composition) to foragers that gather the resources to fatten up the new workers of the next brood.
    And in other news, there is an update of the Nearctic Nylandria in the works by LaPolla’s lab, too, with several species I missed in my 1984 work on them, including some very cool workerless parasites. (Actually, I reported on one of these, but misinterpreted it as a microgyne of the host species.)

  4. Here, right on time for the holidays, are the first two installments:

    Zootaxa 3110: 01–09 (25 Nov. 2011) 05 plates; 21 references Accepted: 06 Oct. 2011
    Monograph of Nylanderia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the World: An introduction to the systematics and biology of the genus
    JOHN S. LAPOLLA (USA), SEÁN G. BRADY (USA) & STEVEN O. SHATTUCK (Australia)

    Article
    Zootaxa 3110: 10–36 (25 Nov. 2011) 10 plates; 23 references Accepted: 06 Oct. 2011
    Monograph of Nylanderia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the World, Part I: Nylanderia in the Afrotropics
    JOHN S. LAPOLLA (USA), PETER G. HAWKES (South Africa) & BRIAN L. FISHER (USA)

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