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Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Check our latest article on the structure of compound eye and ocelli in the Banded Sugar ant, Camponotus consobrinus. Emphasis is on the differences driven by locomotion and task specialisation .

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Longitudinal section of alate female (left) and male ants of Camponotus consobrinus

Reference: Narendra A, Ramirez-Esquivel F & Ribi WA. 2016. Compound eye and ocellar structure for walking and flying modes of locomotion in the Australian ant, Camponotus consobrinus. Scientific Reports 6: 22331.

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We have a new story published on tandem running in the Australian ant, Camponotus consobrinus. Here is a short clip I put together explaining its significance.

Schultheiss P, Raderschall CA, Narendra A. Follower ants in a tandem pair are not always naïve. Scientific Reports 5: 10747. [pdf]

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Day active jack jumper, Myrmecia croslandi has three spectral classes of photoreceptors.

Day-active jack jumper, Myrmecia croslandi has three spectrally distinct types of photoreceptors

Bees and wasps are known to be trichromats (three classes of photoreceptors). Ants were thought to be the only hymenopterans to be dichromats, being sensitive to UV and green wavelength of the spectrum. Several behavioural experiments have suggested that ants do use colour vision, but it has been unclear whether ants are dichromats, trichromats or tetrachromats. Teaming up with electrophysiology experts Yuri Ogawa, Jan Hemmi, Marcin Falkowski at UWA and visual ecologist Jochen Zeil at ANU we show from intracellular and extracellular recordings that ant photoreceptors have three spectral sensitivities, sensitive to UV, blue and green wavelength – that allows for trichromacy. Interestingly, this holds good for ants active during both day and night. We argue that colour vision may have evolved in the context of landmark guidance, since the evolution of trichromacy in insects predates the evolution of flowers.

See: Ogawa Y, Falkowski M, Narendra A, Zeil J, Hemmi JM. 2015. Three spectrally distinct photoreceptors in diurnal and nocturnal Australian ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20150673.

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We are seeking expressions of interest for two postdoctoral positions to examine the neurobiology of insect navigation. Both positions are for three years and will be based at Macquarie University, Sydney.

A section through the brain of a nocturnal Queen Bull ant, Myrmecia pyriformis. Ca: calyx, Pe: peduncle, Cb: central body; Lo: lobula, Me: medulla, La: lamina; Al: antennal lobe

Cross section of the brain of a Bull ant queen, Myrmecia pyriformis. Ca: calyx, Pe: peduncle, Cb: central body; Lo: lobula, Me: medulla, La: lamina; Al: antennal lobe

1. Postdoctoral Research Associate (Macquarie University salary Level A6, three-year position): The role will involve development of a research program in electrophysiology and neuropharmacology of ants to determine the brain regions involved in navigation. It will require skills in intracellular recording, and/or calcium imaging, brain morphometrics, extracellular recording, and the creative capacity to develop electrophysiological and neuropharmacological methods in a new system. The position would allow for associate supervision of graduate students.

2. Postdoctoral Research Assistant (Macquarie University salary Level H6 step 1, three-year position at 0.8 full time equivalent): The role would involve conducting experiments in ant behavioural pharmacology in both the laboratory and the field. It will require skills in field research, quantitative analysis of animal behaviour, neuropharmacology, insect brain histology and 3D reconstruction. The position would be funded at 80% of full-time equivalence (four days a week), with an additional opportunity to take up undergraduate teaching duties to supplement the salary. The position would allow for associate supervision of graduate students.

If this sounds intriguing, fun and fascinating, contact me: ajay.narendra [at] mq.edu.au. More details on these positions are available on our lab page.

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Myrmecia haskinsorum, Canberra

Myrmecia haskinsorum, Canberra

Jack Jumpers are ants well known to most people in Australia. Due to dramatic interspecific similarity, specimens have often been identified as Myrmecia pilosula. In his latest work published in Zootaxa, Robert Taylor reviews the present status of Myrmecia pilosula complex and describes 4 new species bringing the species tally of this charismatic group to six: M. banksi, M. croslandi, M. haskinsorum, M. imaii, M. impaternata and M. pilosula.

Myrmecia croslandi, Australian National University, Canberra

Myrmecia croslandi, Australian National University, Canberra

Myrmecia impaternata, Canberra

Myrmecia impaternata, Canberra

Taylor RW. 2015. Ants with attitude: Australian Jack-jumpers of the Myrmecia pilosula species complex, with descriptions of four new species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmeciinae). Zootaxa 3911: 493–520.

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PolBook_CoverA new book on Polarized Light and Polarization Vision in Animal Sciences, edited by Gábor Horváth is out! Jochen Zeil, Willi Ribi, and I were invited to contribute a chapter on Polarization vision in hymenopterans. There were already wonderful and recent reviews by Rüdiger Wehner and Thomas Labhart in 2006. Hence, we briefly reviewed the behaviour, and physiology, and took this as an opportunity to carry out a comparative analysis of anatomical structures required for sensing polarized light. In addition to a detailed analysis of the compound eye, we describe the structure of the ocelli, in ants, bees and wasps and discuss their potential of sensing polarized light. There are several interesting chapters in this book: including an eye-catching review by Stanley Heinze on Polarized-light processing in insect brains.

At a 172$ (AU), the book is a touch expensive, but if you have a chance do check it out.

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Just uploaded images of the wonderful Bullet ant, Paraponera clavata, which I got to see in Barro Colorado Island, Panama earlier this year. Check it out here.

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