Little Things Matter
Kids Learn , then Unlearn!
But hey, even “experts” can fail at ID.
E.g., at first glance, I thought the two ants in this pic http://alexwild.smugmug.com/Ants/Taxonomic-List-of-Ant-Genera/Crematogaster/8803313_VfNT5M#!i=2193056771&k=25ZgcMq were Crematogaster missuriensis & Monomorium minimum.
Regional bias, I suppose.
I even sent the reporter some photos of the European fire ant but for some reason, probably deadline, she went with what appears to be Monomorious pharaonis. At least she got the sub-family.
There is also an odd quote attributed to myself that seems to be two sentence fragments oddly conflated.
Looks like they updated with a picture of a Solenopsis fire ant. Still searching fo Myrmica rubra . . .
That last stumble was my fault. I had Pharaoh’s ant on my mind as I was just showing specimens to a student this morning.
Yes, the photo is Solenopsis.
To Alex and Rob:
Just curious why you do not point out an ID / photo error in the review/comments if taxonomy fail is important to you ?
Seems like a good idea to produce a low cost e-picture book of ants for kids of all ages.
This one isn’t worth my time, Bob. It’s a scam company that’s scraping content off the internet to sucker people who don’t know any better into dropping money on a worthless product.
I’m not averse to low-cost ebooks, but I am averse to snake oil salesmen and their associated copyright infringements. They’re using at least one of my photos without permission- I’m trying to get the book removed from Amazon for that reason.
Your probably right in my case. The same reporter is probably going to run something on the European fire ant next summer so correcting the image would useful.
A serious low-cost picture book should still have standards of accuracy that are higher than “ignore subfamily-level taxonomy fail”. It can’t be all that difficult to find a public-domain image of an actual fire ant.
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On what basis do any of you people think the term “fire ants” in the picture is supposed to refer to your own idiosyncratic taxonomies, familiar to maybe a handful of people around the world? Maybe they are just using a different taxonomy. Or (more likely, I think) they are using “fire ant” in an ordinary English way, not meant to map onto a biological species (or genus, or sphere).
Under no colloquial convention does an ant in the genus Formica constitute a “fire ant”. The (il)logic of your argument leads to statements such as “On what basis do any of you people think the term “hurricane” in the picture is supposed to refer to your own idiosyncratic taxonomies, familiar to maybe a handful of people around the world? Maybe they are just using a different taxonomy. Or (more likely, I think) they are using “hurricane” in an ordinary English way, not meant to map onto a tropical storm (or low pressure front, or weather event).”
Having terminologies which accurately reflect the subject/phenomenon being described is not an arcane or unimportant matter. In my reductio ad absurdum example above, it will cost lives. If I have a child allergic to Solenopsis invica (“fire ant”) venom, I want to be able to know if the ants my child has had an encounter with will require me to make urgent decisions; I want my language to accurately (A) reflect my reality and (B) accurately communicate this information to anyone, let alone the doctor who will save the child’s life if he/she is having an allergic response. Do I need to rephrase my counter-example quote with “allergy” and “histamines, IgE, mastocytes, and anaphylactic shock”?
Poor kids …
Not an ant but this summer there was an article in the local news about a man who died from a bee or wasp sting with a photo of a drone fly as a possible culprit.