"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

July 11, 2010

July 11 - Anergates atratulus

Over on Dechronization, a blog I used to be involved with, Liam Revell posted a very cool video of an ant war going on in his yard. Alex Wild, who writes at Myrmecos, informed Liam and all that the ants were two colonies of pavement ants - Tetramorium - battling over territory. I thought that was pretty darn cool (and of course was just picturing tiny chitinous "Braveheart" scenes), but there's an added level of coolness. Anergates atratulus is a species of ant that is an obligate parasite on Tetramorium, in that A. atratulus does not produce its own workers. Entomologists have never found this species with a fertile Tetramorium queen, thus this parasitic species has to figure out a way to squeeze out its reproduction in a limited time span.

Photo from this site.


  1. I've never seen Anergates in real life- though I keep an eye out for them anytime I'm in a Tetramorium nest.

    Are you no longer doing Dechronization, Susan?

  2. Yes, apparently they're rare...and who knows, perhaps have gone extinct.

    Stepped back from Dechronization while I'm at NSF.

  3. Ooh, Mel Gibson movies don't exactly inspire feelings of coolness these days!