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Posts Tagged ‘Photography Links’

texana1.jpg

A few months ago I started playing about with the placement of the flash unit, and almost immediately hit on a new favorite trick.  When lit from behind, insects look even more zingy than usual. Their translucent bodies glow, they are ringed with little halos, and they stand out dramatically against the background. Below the fold are some samples:

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colliuris4.jpg

Colliuris sp. long-necked ground beetle, Arizona

 

details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
beetle on plain white paper
f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO 100
MT-24EX twin flash diffused through tracing paper
levels adjusted in Photoshop

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rohweri16s.jpg

 

 

If I had to pick a favorite myrmicine ant, I’d go with the heavily armored Neotropical genus Cephalotes. These arboreal ants are typically thought of as rainforest canopy dwellers, but we have a desert species here in Arizona, Cephalotes rohweri, that is the northernmost species in an otherwise tropical genus. They nest in abandoned beetle burrows in the dead wood of living Palo Verde trees.

 

Earlier this month, myrmecologist Scott Powell was in town to scope out a potential research project on our local populations. Scott has been studying how the nesting ecology of these ants drives the evolution of the highly-specialized soldier caste, focusing on populations in Brazil, but is looking to expand his project to include other species. By the looks of it, C. rohweri will make a fine experimental system. Scott was kind enough to let me photograph a few of the colonies he brought into the lab for some preliminary studies, and this morning I uploaded a few of them to the galleries at myrmecos.net:

 

http://www.myrmecos.net/new.html

 

Incidentally, it turns out that the best way to bait Cephalotes is to urinate on a tree. I’m not making this up. There’s something about urine that attracts the workers.

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