What was yesterday’s anty swath of red? Here’s the uncropped photo:

Cephalotes_porrasi1

Cephalotes porrasi, nematode-induced intercaste (Belize)

This poor ant carried an unusually large gaster and an unusually shrunken head. Where else have we seen this syndrome recently? Oh, yeah.

As a larva, she was probably destined to be a major worker. We can deduce this from her size and from the incipient development of a head disc. Infection with a parasitic nematode must have stunted her growth somewhere short of full size. For comparison, here is a healthy major from the same colony:

porrasi1

Cephalotes porrasi, major worker (Belize)

Anyway. I’ll award 7 points to Morgan Jackson for being the first to genus and medical diagnosis, although this is C. porrasi, not C. atratus, as guessed. Two points go to Jon Sanders for correctly suggesting the C. pallens species group.