Answer to Monday’s Plunder Mystery

Eciton hamatum prey cache, Cayó District, Belize.


What were last night’s army ants targeting? This challenge was tricky, as it involved identifying ant pupae rather than the more taxonomically accessible adults. Nonetheless, you did well.

Most of the brood in the booty cache belonged to the same species as this ant:

Dolichoderus lutosus worker, photographed in Belize.

Sprinkled in with the others were some smaller Pheidole of an undetermined species.

Points are awarded as follows: 5 to James for picking the Pheidole, and 5 more to Julio for getting the Dolichoderus, not just to genus, but to species. Many of you did well speculating that the mystery pupae were dolichoderine. I thought it was Azteca in the field, but close examination of the photos showed that the propodeal profile was off, matching only D. lutosus, a reasonably common ant in the same habitat.

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