Hypoponera opaciceps (Mayr). Lectotype specimen from Sta. Catarina, Brazil, photographed at the Natural History Museum in Vienna in 2004. I am placing this image in the public domain.

Monday’s challenge required knowledge of several rather arcane topics: myrmecological history, taxonomic methods, Brazilian geography, and ant identification. Nonetheless, I was impressed with how quickly you guys came up with the answers.

Points are awarded as follows: 9 to Julio Chaúl for rapid-fire correct responses, and 1 to Katherine, for being the first to pick Vienna (=Wein) as the city, if not the exact institution.

In the early days of modern taxonomy, researchers like Vienna’s Gustav Mayr would describe new species from series of several specimens, referring to all as “types”. On occasion these series turned out to contain more than one species, raising the question (not begging the question, for Christ’s sake. Raising. We have standards here.) to which biological species a Latin name is supposed to refer. To remove this ambiguity, taxonomists began selecting single individuals- lectotypes- from the original series to serve as unique name-bearers. The ant pictured above is Walter Kempf’s designated lectotype taken from Mayr’s series of Ponera opaciceps, now in the genus Hypoponera.