quarta-feira, 22 de julho de 2009

More finds... and hopefully some pictures

OK, I do not know if the insect models I decided to study are particularly loaded with interesting things waiting to be unraveled or if there's a bit of a third eye in me that enables me to see new stuff.

After much thinking, discussion and fiddling with the bloody fire ants I have found some ways of making them deliver their venom. The picture shows me using a capillary tube to collect exuding venom from an excised gaster. It goes on stinging automatically, dripping with pure precious venom. Not as simple as I would like it to be, but effective enough. Sometimes I wonder about the harmful nature of the substances I have been playing with. Yet, I am not awfully eager to try and inject myself with crude venom to see the outcome. I am positive of great agony and possibly death within minutes. Creepy, but thats how science goes.

The other day I bumped into a fire ant nest just in front of my lab, and was surprised to find it was severely infested with the social parasite Solenopsis daguerrei. There's much to be done with this rather rare species, now its just 'hands on'. Bingo. The same nest contained inquiline beetles and even Pagaeus bugs -- both new to science. This illustrates to my dear entomologist reader that his next groundbreking article is very likely very near to him, just waiting to be seen. And not on the work of others or inside his email inbox.


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