Return of the Monday Night Mystery

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June’s mysteries will be informal. We’re starting mid-month with no point tally. Still, I’m blogging again and it’d be a shame to let Monday evenings go to waste.

Here’s a bug’s-eye perspective of a Brazilian entomological phenomenon:

What is that looming tower of…stuff?

And, what species made it?

17 thoughts on “Return of the Monday Night Mystery”

  1. My initial impression was an ant’s ommatidium view of a Formica obscuripes/F. rufa group thatch nest. This in the tropics though? I can’t wait to see the constructor!

  2. What we have here is the home of the rarely seen and never photographed Brazilian Beaver Beetle (Castorptera braziliensis). Alex failed to mention that he’s standing neck-deep in a swamp with camera held precariously above the water’s surface and anacondas winding between his ankles. What makes the Brazilian Beaver Bug unique is the communal lodge built from the empty carcasses of thousands of stick insects that are glued together with the spittle of symbiotic spittle bugs. Had Alex gotten any closer, I’m sure his spindly form would be seized upon by the BBBs to repair a nearby dam.

    Excellent work bringing this species to light Alex, and I can’t wait to see what other incredible insects you came across in your travels!

  3. My first thought is that it’s a nest of Camponotus rufipes, but since I’m far from the first to say so, no points, no prize. Different perspective than any from which I’ve ever looked at one before.

    B.t.w. Morgan, there is documentation of at least one ant using spittlbug foam to stick its nest together. Formica montana in Wisconsin.

  4. Ooops, faulty memory! The spittle was used to make aphid tents: Henderson, G.
    PREDATION ON CERCOPIDS AND MATERIAL USE OF THE SPITTLE IN APHID-TENT CONSTRUCTION BY PRAIRIE ANTS* – available on line

  5. Pingback: Answer to the Monday Night Mystery: Camponotus rufipes – MYRMECOS - Insect Photography - Insect Pictures

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