Posts Tagged ‘Martialis’

Martialis up on Antweb

Remember Martialis heureka?  Antweb.org has just posted some new high-res images of the specimen:


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In the comments, Rob Clack asks:

I’ve just read about Martialis on Panda’s Thumb and have a question. If I interpret it correctly, your cladogram shows Martialis to be the sister group of all living ants. Since it was blind and many living genera are not, that presumably implies that vision evolved independently within modern ants. I would therefore expect there to be some significant differences between modern ant eyes and those of other hymenoptera.

I assume I’m missing something.

Rob is referring to this post, going straight to the problem that Martialis seemingly poses for our understanding of ant evolution.  Was the ancestor of all ants blind?


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Speaking of bad science reporting…

Not the right ant.


Camponotus?  You’ve gotta be kidding.

It isn’t Lasius, either.

Nor Ectatomma. (And isn’t that Corrie Moreau’s copyrighted photo?).

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Martialis heureka Rabeling & Verhaagh 2008
drawing by the inimitable Barrett Klein for PNAS

Most scientific discoveries these days emerge through carefully planned and controlled research programs.  Every now and again, though, something unexpected just pops up in a distant tropical jungle.  Martialis heureka is a fantastic discovery of that old-fashioned kind.  This little ant simply walked up to myrmecologist Christian Rabeling in the Brazilian Amazon.  It is not only a new species, but an entirely different sort of ant than anything known before. (more…)

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