For those of you in the southeastern US who would like to take better insect photographs for marketing your business, we'd love to have you at our upcoming insect photo workshop in May on Sapelo Island, Georgia. This is our fourth year running BugShot, but our first time in Georgia.
A peek inside a laboratory fungus garden of the agricultural ant Mycocepurus smithii. If you click on the large version, you should be able to see the stringy white fungal hyphae growing over the bits of corn meal and oats that the ants (and their University of Texas keepers) have fed to the garden.
Finally, a warm day in central Illinois! I was able to poke my head outside just long enough to see the first ants of spring: Tapinoma sessile, the odorous house ant, running in a little trail along the sun-warmed south face of a redbud tree.
I didn't have enough time to take a decent photo- too many babies around here need cuddling, apparently- but here's a shot of an early spring Tapinoma from last year.
If you like insects, nature, or photography, we would love to have you join John Abbott, and Piotr Naskrecki, and me for our May insect photo workshop on coastal Georgia's Sapelo Island! We'll cover topics in lighting, magnification, composition, high-speed flash and more. It's basically a mini-conference for bug nerds in a beautiful natural setting.
Jonathan Pruitt, a rising star in biology who is now faculty at Pitt, also studies these spiders. He is particularly interested in individual spider behavioral syndromes (personalities) and how a good colony may require a certain mix of personalities.
Pruitt came out of Andy Sih's lab, which explains the behavioral syndrome link.
You should check out his work. It is very related to eusocial-insect behavioral questions.
Alex Wild is an Illinois-based entomologist who studies the evolutionary history of ants. In 2003 he founded a photography business as an aesthetic complement to his scientific work, and his natural history photographs appear in numerous museums, books, and media outlets.
University of California, Davis
Ph.D. Entomology, 1999 - 2005
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