A perk of being at a major university is photographic access to the wild and wonderful diversity of insect research subjects studied by various biologists in the department. This week Andy Suarez returned from Ant Course/Borneo bearing live ant colonies. They were exported under research permits for studies of genome size and for the biomechanics of ant mandibles.
But the ants were also available for a leisurely photo shoot before being shipped down the science pipeline, so I spent Tuesday afternoon with my camera gear up in the lab pretending like I was exploring the jungles of southeast Asia. I even stole tropical leaves from the plant biology greenhouse to serve as rainforest backdrops. It was a reasonable facsimile, except for the air conditioning, internet access, and coffee shop up the road, of course. Sometimes I prefer my jungles to be civilized.
Anyway. The next few days I’ll be posting shots from the session. Borneo has some freaky amazing ants. Like this big-eyed hunting ant Harpegnathos venator.
Some day I’ll get to Borneo myself. My interest is certainly piqued now.
*update – ok, maybe not venator. Anybody need a taxonomic research project?