So, what were Monday evening’s squishy pink things?
JasonC, for ten points, shares the answer:
It’s a Melissotarsus weissi larva accompanied by its scale insect symbionts in the family Diaspididae. The symbionts are presumably farmed for their meat. Yes, I was just reading the account on the Yuku forum.
I’ll also award a point to Michiel for picking the symbiotic nature of the ant/scale relation, if not the right system.
Melissotarsus is surely among the strangest ants I have ever observed. Tiny, pudgy, and unable to stand up outside their nests without falling over, these little African & Malagasy endemics spin silk as adults and farm scale insects for meat rather than honeydew. Once I get more photos worked up I’ll give these little creatures a dedicated post.
By the way, did I mention that the African Ant Course last month was awesome?