Maps update-4
June 14, 2010, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Database additions, Great websites / blogs

The last update of the ant generic database is only a month old, and I am glad to announce that no less than 110 additions/changes have been made since then.

Most of the modifications this time concerns regions of Asia and especially China where I have been able to find lots of new records for specific provinces. The difficulty I have since the beginning of this project for some regions like China has been to find and then understand the publications. Most of the work realized on Chinese ants has been published in Chinese journal which seems to have a limited distribution. The first difficulty has been to find the references of the different articles and then to obtain a copy of them. Hopefully for me, NCSU has an excellent library service! Thanks to them I have been able to have access to hundreds of articles and books which sometimes are mailed from the other side of the world just for my insatiable bulimia of data collection. The second difficulty is of course the reading. Reading Chinese is not an easy thing to do, especially when you don’t understand it, but fortunately, the format of scientific paper coupled with the access to Internet and tools of translation allow me to extract the information I need. At many occasions, I though about the perseverance of Champollion who pierced the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone.

Anyway, the maps have now 96 new records (green), 11 new interpolations (blue) and 3 new records for introduced genus (orange).

Besides China, a few records have been added for South East Asia, Central Asia, South America or Africa.

While most novelties are only novelties in a sense that I did not came across those references earlier, there is a real new one with the discovery of Asphinctopone by Peter Hawkes in Tanzania (published in Zootaxa).  This new record extends the range of this Ponerine genus on the East coast of Africa and is also at the same time the southern record. Needless to say that this is a pretty cool new record!

I also found very interesting the position of Peter Hawkes who is the director of a company specialized in the monitoring of arthropods diversity in Africa, called Afribugs. I believe that it is during one of those monitoring, that Peter has discovered the new Asphinctopone species. On the website of Afribugs, you could learn about the company but also see some of the awesome specimens collected.

For instance, this nice species of Calyptomyrmex collected also in Tanzania. Take a look!

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RBINS Ant eMuseum
October 23, 2009, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Great websites / blogs | Tags: , , ,

Just want to share the address of a website I found this morning and I simply loved.

Fourmis-du-Chaco--MO

The Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences has a website dedicated to the ants of Paraguayan Chaco:  RBINS Ant eMuseum. The website is developed by a team led by the Belgium entomologist Maurice Leponce and the French entomologist Thibaut Delsinne. The website offers access to the records of the species collected in Paraguay with details for the different specimens and tons of microscopic pictures. The design is very neat and the navigation on the website really pleasant.

But to me the real treasure of this website is an excellent glossary which is richly illustrated with amazing pictures. Probably the best anatomical glossary I have seen so far!  Thank you for this useful tool.

The website also offers an interactive identification key and description of the different project. I am looking forward to see the future developments…

Finally, if you want to learn more about the ants of Paraguay don’t miss the work made by the entomologist and photographer Alex Wild (aka Myrmecos) on Antweb and its catalog of the ants of Paraguay published in 2007 in Zootaxa.

One last thing. Take some time to look at the animation that I borrow from the RBINS Ant eMuseum homepage, a surprise is awaiting you with the Camponotus.