Meat Ant (Iridomyrmex purpureus)

Also known as the Meat-eater Ant or Gravel ant, the meat ant is a species of rainbow ant (Iridomyrmex spp.) that occurs throughout Australia. Like most ants meat ants live in large underground nests that number around 64,000 individuals. Despite what their common name might suggest meat ants are omnivorous scavengers and will forage diurnally for whatever they can manage. Their common name comes from the fact that they are commonly used to clean carcasses. Interestingly meat ants do not have dedicated soldier and worker casts, instead they exhibit age caste polyethism which means they take on different roles in the colony at different ages. Young ants typically care for eggs and older ants form foraging parties.


Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Hymenoptera-Formicidae-Dolichoderinae-Tapinomini-Iridomyrmex-I. purpureus

Image(s): Fir0002 


Spatangus purpureus

…is a species of spatangid heart urchin that occurs throughout the entire North Sea and is distributed from the North Cape to the Azores and the Mediterranean. S. purpureus typically inhabits bottoms with coarse sand or gravel. From there it spends its live burrowed, collecting detritus that calls near it.


Animalia-Echinodermata-Echinoidea-Atelostomata-Spatangoida-Spatangidae-Spatangus-S. purpureus

Images: Hans Hillewaert and Roberto Pillon

- Blueberry hermit crab (Coenobita purpureus ) Okinawa-Japan by Okinawa Nature Photography on Flickr.


Two-spotted Line-blue, Nacaduba biocellata biocellata, a Lycaenid butterfly that breeds on Acacia, and whose caterpillars are guarded by ants - usually Iridomyrmex, and often the meat ant I. purpureus.

They’re found over much of Australia (and Singapore for some reason) - other subspecies have made it to the New Hebrides, Bali, and Sumba. These particular individuals were swarming along the Swan River foreshore at Bicton, posing on the sunny side on Acacias to flash their purple upper surface, and have frenzied dogfights with other Line-blues. I don’t know the flower, unfortunately.

Late Summer Blooms

The woods seem quieter of late. Bird calls in the late afternoon are less frequent than I’ve become accustomed to while hiking.

In the warm, humid conditions like we’ve had this week, a walk through the stifling canopy of trees, or even among the tall grasses and weeds in the prairie, can tire you quickly. It was not so warm, however, when I visited Burnidge Forest Preserve, west of Elgin, Illinois on Aug. 17, 2014.

Late summer always seems like a winding down, with fewer flowers in bloom both in the neighborhood and in the areas where in hike.

It’s not that flowers are absent — Queen Anne’s lace, for example, is ubiquitous, both along woodland trails and in the prairies. This wild carrot is so commonplace, however, that it becomes very easy to overlook.

Varieties of aster, too, are abundant alone some trails, and black-eyed Susans, and yellow coneflowers are lingering, but many are losing their petals…

As I walk, I look for things that are less familiar to me, and I find new surprises.

I have watched throughout the summer as one weedy-looking plant has grown taller and taller — some may be taller than 6 feet, although it is difficult to judge when looking between the trees of a quiet wood. The thick undergrowth hides much of the woodland floor and whatever minor changes in contour that may be there.

But this particular plant has developed a dome of umbels, which comprise myriad pinkish blossoms that draw the attention of bumblebees and other flying insects. As I pause to photograph this bloom known as sweet Joe-Pye weed, Eupatoriadelphus purpureus, I wish that the mosquitoes darting across my face would follow the bees’ example and leave me alone.

Around the woods there also are clusters of sawtooth sunflower, Helianthus grosseserratus, which might be mistaken for black-eyed Susans were it not for the yellow, rather than dark brown centers.

Yet another similar flower emerges in the Burnidge woods, mingling with the sunflowers. It may simply be the sawtooth variety in a different stage of growth, but it may be something else entirely.

But there are other flowers about, as well. At nearby Paul Wolff Forest Preserve, look closely along the pond’s borders to find tiny stalks of blue vervain, Verbena hastate, hidden among the tall grasses, wild dill, and yellow sweet clover. Another tiny wonder is the prairie fleabane, Erigeron strigosus, which looks as if someone took a tiny daisy, shredded its petals and then pushed them up to create a tiny white cup that is smaller than a thimble. I photographed the images at Paul Wolff on Aug. 9, 2014.

The flowers are there. You just need to walk slowly, enjoy yourself, and look.

SOURCES:Illinois Wildflowers and U.S. Wildflowers

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Palmi, il 31 agosto la Varia festeggia il riconoscimento dell’Unesco

La Varia di Palmi riaccende i motori, a distanza di appena un anno dalla sua ultima edizione, per celebrare in grande stile il riconoscimento attribuito dall’Unesco, come patrimonio immateriale dell’umanità. Lo straordinario evento è in programma per il 31 agosto, anche se la macchina organizzativa ha già aperto i battenti da sabato mattina. In piazza Cavour è stata infatti inaugurata una grande mostra video-fotografica sul rapporto uomo-natura e sulla salvaguardia del patrimonio culturale immateriale, che include pure la Sila (recentemente annoverata nell’elenco uomo-biosfera dell’Unesco) e il «Codex Purpureus Rossanensis», conservato nel Museo Diocesano d’Arte Sacra di Rossano, in provincia di Cosenza. «L’obiettivo», come sostiene Paola Nardi, responsabile del progetto Unesco, «è quello di dare grande visibilità al patrimonio culturale per far prendere coscienza della sua importanza e favorire il dialogo tra le comunità culturali, per fare della cultura e del turismo sostenibile il vero futuro della Calabria».