Showing posts from June, 2024

Miocene ant-mealybug trophobiosis imaged with X-Ray micro-computed tomography

Amber is a remarkable preserving medium for Mesozoic and Cenozoic terrestrial biotas, but even when transparency is good, available viewing angles can be limited. X-ray micro-computed tomography is used here to study a rare association of a Miocene ant ( Acropyga glaesaria ) trapped in resin while carrying a mealybug Electromyrmococcus inclusus with which to incubate a new colony. The technique allows inspection from any desired viewpoint and detailed anatomical measurements. An addition to an extremely limited corpus, this is a fourth known example of an Acropyga gyne holding a mealybug and the second known specimen of Electromyrmococcus inclusus . Measurements and other features of both ant and mealybug are consistent with the holotypes. Introduction Inclusions in amber not only preserve individual organisms in fine detail, but can record interactions between organisms, including symbiotic relationships of various kinds (e.g. Johnson et al. 2001, LaPolla 2002, Poinar 2011, 2019). In

Borneo Wildlife in the Deramakot Forest

Deramakot lies in central Sabah, northwest Borneo. It's reached by a drive of about 4 hours from Sandakan, the major part being through seemingly endless palm oil plantations. The sustainably managed forest reserve is known as the best place in Borneo to have a chance of encountering the spectacular clouded leopard, but even so, sightings are few and far between. I found myself with a few clear days before needing to be back at university to give a talk in Kuala Lumpur, so on the spur of the moment (after checking with Alternative Adventure Borneo that it would be OK to turn up at such short notice), I booked a flight to Sandakan for the following morning.  Once installed in a room at Deramakot, there was a meal and then it was straight out into the evening to see what we could find. Sharp-eyed guide Elsie was balanced on top of the cabin of the vehicle. For the following two evenings, we headed out in the afternoon with a packed dinner to be eaten just after dusk before continuing