Monday Night Mystery: A Double Header

Here are two unusual things that, not coincidentally, I found together in this position:


Your challenge is to answer the following:

  1. In what biogeographic realm was this photograph taken? (2 points)
  2. In what microhabitat? (4 points)
  3. What is the adorable fluffy thing on the left? (2 points)
  4. What are the smooth objects on the right? (2 points)

Points will be awarded for the first correct answers to each question, and the cumulative points winner across all mysteries for the month of May will win their choice of 1) any 8×10-sized print from my insect photography galleries, or 2) a guest post here on Myrmecos.

Good luck!

14 thoughts on “Monday Night Mystery: A Double Header”

  1. Brian Spitzer

    Okay, wild guesses:
    1) Neotropics
    2) Inside a node of the tree Cordia alliodora
    3) A sucking insect “farmed” by the ants that inhabit the node
    4) eggs of the ants

  2. First guesses: fluffy thing on the left is a scale insect.
    Smooth objects on the right are insect eggs.

  3. Domatia of an ant-plant (something like Macaranga (ant-plant) in the Asian tropics) probably in with Crematogaster spp (the ants). Coccid (possibly genus Coccus, is the fluffy thing), food bodies from the plant. Probably new world, say, Brazil, although the best known examples are from the Asian tropics.

    1. You have gone to Australia in the recent past, so possibly Australia (northern) as to the region.

      1. Also, the bottom center food body appears to have text on the right side, so apparently you made some fake food bodies with your new 3D printer.

    2. Coccids and food bodies are part of the “tripartite” mutualism between coccids (protection from ants, food source from plant), plants (protection from ants, possibly enrichment from ants), ants food from plants and coccids.

  4. I think it is a ccohineal insect on an Opuntia cactus, and from your travels might be in Florida. The eggs I have no idea about, but are probably a parasitoid of Cactoblastis.

    1. Alissa Hanshew

      This is what I would have guessed too. But it must be a fairly recently opened internode, as all the opened domatia I’ve looked at look much more like the brown seen in the upper left corner.

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

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