Treehoppers, Enchenopa ignidorsum? adults, nymphs & tending ant by Andreas Kay
Via Flickr:
from Ecuador:


Paraponera clavata

at one of our field sites in Nicaragua, we managed to dig our latrine trench right next to a bullet ant colony. let me tell you there’s nothing quite so exhilarating as having your 3AM giardia shits interrupted by an inch-long fuck you machine suddenly crawling up your leg.

honestly though that was only the second most unnerving latrine site we had during the expedition.


Treehoppers, Horiola picta & tending ants by Andreas Kay
Via Flickr:
from Ecuador:



Red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus), outside Sinton, TX. June 2013. 

This is a species common throughout the southern US, found in grasslands, prairies, and even deserts. Harvester ants their nest in clay and rocky soils, removing vegetation around the entrance to prevent the roots from destroying their tunnels. The nest itself may go as deep as 20 feet (~6m), contain around 10,000-12,000 individuals,  and live up to two decades. As the name implies, these ants collect seeds from nearby plants to feed their colony, although they also scavenge for dead insects. 

When the colony dies or the nest is abandoned, the seeds that remain within the nest may germinate and result in new plant communities. 

“Pirate Ant” (Cardiocondyla pirata)

…a species of Myrmicine ant that was discovered in the province of Laguna in the Philippines. C. pirata gets its common name from the black steak that occurs across the eyes of females, this pattern occurs in no other ant and is thought to be reminiscent of a pirate’s eye-patch. C. pirata was discovered fairly recently (~2013) and as such very little is known about its biology. It likely behaves fairly similarly to other members of the genus Cardiocondyla


Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Hymenoptera-Formicidae-Myrmicinae-Cardiocondyla-C. pirata

Image: Seifert B, Frohschammer S


Got the Invert Blues…

Blue is a surprisingly common colour in many invertebrate groups, especially as a tint or reflective colour on key body parts. Here we have a range of distantly related organisms that use blue pigments - or, most of them - structural characteristics of the cuticle or setae/scales (modified hairs) to give blue-tinted reflections.

You’ll may already know the Acanthanura springtail (second from top), one of my favourite Collembola: surely everyone’s favourite! This beast has a beautifully bluish pigmented body that becomes paler on preservation. Pigments often do this - they are unstable and decay, sometimes rapidly often leaving dull specimens of once vivid creatures. The others species all exhibit structural colours where the arrangement of their cuticle ‘think invert skin’, or scales, reflect light to show colour rather than containing pigment. Structural colours can last, potentially, millions of years.

These other five are, from top down:

1-  a huntsman spider (Sparassidae: Neosparassus) with blue reflections on its chelicarae;

3 - a Rhytidoponera ant, perhaps R. metallica or at least that group;

4 - a red and black spider (Nicodamidae) with blue reflections on its abdomen;

5 - a native, litter-dwelling, silverfish (Thysanura) with structurally reflective scales coating its lithe body; and…

6 - a brilliant little Marataus jumping spider (Salticidae), likewise, with stunning reflective scale patterns on the abdomen.

For organisms with structural colours, like most of these, the nature and direction of the light will have some influence on the colour of the reflection.

All from a within a couple of hours drive of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Even invertebrates get the blues…sometimes.





I fucking love ants. But there is A LOT to talk about with ants, so I’m breaking this into two fucking parts. This is PART MOTHERFUCKING ONE.

Ants are everything in the family Formicidae. Unlike many things, the Latin root is kind of shit. It comes from the latin word “formica” meaning ant. Well done scientists. Not boring at all. *slow clap.*

Ants are related to wasps and bees, all belonging to the order Hymenoptera. They evolved from sort-of-wasps in the goddamn Mid-Creta…Mid-Cretae….oh fucking balls shit. In the Mid-Creta-fucking-ceous period, around 110 and 130 million years ago. That is way fucking older than you, so show some goddamn respect. And before any of you fuckers start talking about termites, they are more closely related to GODDAMN COCKROACHES than ANTS. CHRIST.

Ants form fucking colonies, because they are co-operative sons-of-bitches. Or should that be daughters-of-bitches, as the majority of ants in large colonies consist of sterile females who are workers, soldiers or whatever-fucking-else specialised groups are needed. The fertile males are called “drones,” and essentially sit around being lazy as fuck and fucking their mothers and sisters (basically whoever is queen at the time). Yeah. Nature is gross

Ants can solve complex problems, communicate with other and divide labour lead to a pretty put together society. Showing us fuckers up.

These colonies range from a couple'a dozen motherfuckers to goddamn millions. Ants are on almost every fucking landmass on Earth. If you want to get away from ants, your options are essentially Antarctica, or a handful of unlivable islands. I would recommend remote islands, but it isn’t a matter of not, it is a matter of when.

Ants form approximately 15 to 15% of the terrestrial animal biomass. To put that in perspective for you (because you can’t do percentages you pansy ass), humans make up about 30%. And that is with our massive fucking bodies, several million times bigger than a fucking ant. Those ladies have us outnumbered. Be glad they’re fucking tiny.

Because there are so many of them and they have a tendency to get shit done, they have relationships with lots of other plant, animal, bacterial and fungal species. Unlike you, sitting at home reading science blogs by yourself.

As I was mother-fucking-saying, ants are fucking everywhere because they are TENACIOUS and they can eat almost FUCKING ANYTHING. Most of them are OMNIVOROUS, meaning they can eat PLANTS and MEAT. Unlike vegans and raptors.  Some are picky dickbags, but most will eat anything made of carbon they can chew through. Except maybe styrofoam. Would you eat styrofoam? I did once. Brother told me it was cereal. What a bag of dicks.

The smallest ants are around 0.52 millimetres. But who gives a shit about them. That’s tiny as fuck. It gets real FUCKING INTERESTING when you get down to Titanomyrma giganteum, which has no common name. As it does not have a common name, I will be referring to it as BAD-ASS-PINCER-FACE. The queen was about six centimetres long. That’s just under two and half inches for you Yanks. Luckily for any of you babies with an ant phobia (called Myrmecophobia), it’s been extinct for quite some time.

Ants come in different colours - like off food. Who the fuck cares. If you care about colours, go to a hipster blog. There are over 12000 fucking species of ant, with an estimated 10000 still undiscovered. So if you want to discover a species and name it something awesome (not BAD-ASS-PINCER-FACE ‘cause I called dibs), ants are the way to go.

Ants have antennae, metaplural glands and a….wait, wait, wait, what the fuck?! Who wants to know this shit? They’ve got anteenae, some glands, an itty bitty waist with a round thing in your face and I don’t think petiole is even a real word. They’ve got distinct body sections, as you would fucking like in a bug and a lot of them have MASSIVE FUCKING MANDIBLES. CHECK OUT THIS FUCKING CARPENTER ANT:

External image

FUCK. In some cultures I can’t be fucked looking up because we are talking about ants not humans, bull ant heads are used to close stitches due to the automatic response where they close their manidbles with a fuckton of pressure. FUCK. 

THEY HAVE EYES, A BADASS EXOSKELETON AND NO FUCKING LUNGS. Can you imagine if you didn’t have lungs? Of course you fucking can’t. You would be dead, motherfucker. They don’t have blood vessels either, preferring a fucking tube down their backs which is basically the ant equivalent of a heart and veins and shit. You fucking heard me. Ants are heartless motherfuckers.

A single nerve cord runs through the body, letting it feel shit. Shit like strokes from fellow ants are using to communicate, and the feeling of HATE

Ants sense shit with their heads, kind of like you. However, unlike you and your little squishy eyeballs, they have motherfucking COMPOUND EYES with MANY TINY LENSES. It ain’t all puppies and sunshine - they’re good for movement, but fucking shit for a high resolution image. So use ants to guard your property, but not for watching the Avengers. How the fuck did you even rig that thing?!

And in case having LOTS OF TINY LENSES WASN’T SUFFICIENT they also have three tiny fucking eyes on top of their head. That’s right: more eyes! These detect light levels and what have you. That said, their eyesight is kind of shit. Some live underground and don’t even bother with eyes at all. Why? Because fuck you that’s why.

In case you’re all comforted, guess what? The Australian bull ant has fucking excellent vision. Aw yeah. Let’s start talking about these fuckers:

External image

See those eyes? They are full of excellent vision and murder. They are as aggressive as all fucking get out and  are deadly from all ends. They have a powerful bite and a painful sting capable of inducing anaphylactic shock. They can track prey from a METRE AWAY. Considering they are 1.6 inches long at most, that is fucking badass. They are also one of the few ants that have female workers who can mate, should the unthinkable happen and their queen gets eaten or fucks off or whatever it is queens do. They are also pretty fucking special in that unlike other ants which, when separated from their colony, basically search until they starve to death, bull ants go off and live their own goddamn lives. They dig themselves a little hole, hunt their own prey and live the rest of their lives in solitude. Maybe they ponder nature and the universe, or maybe they’ll come into your home and BITE YOUR FACE.

Back to ants as a whole.

While most ants can’t see shit, their antennae can sense chemicals, air-fucking-currents, vibrations, and are used to communicate with their sisters. I imagine these conversations go along the lines of:

“Wouldn’t it be fucking rad to go into that house and eat all of their cat’s food?”

“Fuck yes.”

I draw these conclusions from the fucking ridiculous little black ant invasion at my parent’s house. I’m not kidding, that’s actually what they’re called. If you have little black ants invading your house, you are pretty much fucked. They form alliances between colonies, sometimes have several queens and take ten days to mature from pupa to adult. This is basically the equivalent of the axis of evil growing new soldiers in ten days and also forming alliances with EVERY OTHER HUMAN ON THE PLANET and  having EIGHT HITLERS.

What the fuck was I talking about?


Meranoplus mayri

…a species of Myrmicine ant that is distributed throughout the drier regions of Madagascar from the Southwestern region Andohahela National Park north into the province of Mahajanga. Meranoplus mayri are typically encountered at elevations of 20-1,345 m above sea level. Not much is known about the biology of M. mayri except that it is commonly found in urban gardens, grasslands, and deciduous and spiny forests. They are also thought to possibly occur in the High Plateau region as well. 


Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Hymenoptera-Formicidae-Myrmicinae-Meranoplini-Meranoplus-M. mayri

Image: ©

Sevgili ev sahiplerimiz;

Biliyoruz ki bizi istemiyorsunuz. Bizimle yaşamak sizin yaşam şeklinize biraz zor geliyor. Sizi anlıyoruz fakat siz bizi anlamıyorsunuz. Biz, evlerinize davet edildiğimizi düşündüğümüz için geliyoruz. Davet etmezseniz asla gelmeyiz. Peki bizi nasıl davet ettiğinizi düşündünüz mü hiç?

Evinizde çok fazla açıkta gıda bırakıyorsunuz. Ekmek kırıntıları, akşamdan kalan yemek artıkları… Bunlar bizim için ziyafet yerine geçiyor, biz de davete icabet edip geliyoruz. Evinizde dolaşırken kendimiz için hazırlandığını zannettiğimiz köşelerdeki toz yığınları ve köşe/kenardaki çatlaklar, bizim için çok ideal mekânlar. Evinizde bulunan nemli ortamlar yaz sıcaklarında bizim için çok rahat olacağından buraları çok severiz. Damlayan musluklarınızı bizim için açık bıraktığınızı düşünüyoruz.

Gerçekten evinizde istemiyorsanız lütfen bizi ÖLDÜRMEYİN. SİZİNLE KONUŞAMIYORUZ, derdimizi anlatamıyoruz, bundan dolayı LÜTFEN bize anlayacağımız mesajlar bırakın. Kesinlikle sizi rahatsız etmeden evinizden sessizce uzaklaşır, bir daha asla gelmeyiz. Vermiş olduğumuz rahatsızlıktan dolayı çok özür dileriz. Şimdi arkadaşlarıma vermeniz gereken mesajları kendileri söyleyecek, ben yazacağım.

KARINCA: Biz salatalık kabuğundan nefret ederiz. Girdiğimiz yerleri takip ederek salatalık kabuğu koyarsanız, anlarız ki bizi istemiyorsunuz. Bir daha evinize girmeyiz. Kireç veya sıradan bir okul tebeşiriyle yeri çizerseniz o çizgiyi asla geçmeyiz. Limonu küçük küçük keser ve gireceğimiz yerlere koyarsanız bizi istemediğinizi anlayıp oraya girmeyiz. Ayrıca rahatsız olmazsanız pencere kenarlarına sarımsak sürebilirsiniz. Bunun kokusunu duyduğumuz yere asla girmeyiz. Ama lütfen bebek pudrası dökmeyin. ONLAR BİZİ ÖLDÜRÜR. Pudra nefes yollarımızı tıkar ve ölürüz.

KARAFATMALAR: Biz de karbonat, sirke, boraks, limon sevmeyiz. Ayrıca bizim için “istenmeyen toplar” işaretini koyabilirsiniz. Bunun için patatesleri haşlayın, içine yumurta sarısı ve boraks ekleyin. Karıştırıp küçük toplar hazırlayın. Bunu dolaştığımız yerlere koyun, mesajı alır ve bir daha ASLA gelmeyiz. Sizi ısırmıyoruz, açıkta bırakmadığınız sürece besinlerinizin içine girmiyoruz. Bu dünyada sizden daha eskiyiz. Biz 300 milyon, siz ise henüz sadece 200 bin yıldır dünyadasınız ve dinozorlar dahil olmak üzere bizi yemek olarak görmeyen bir canlının öldürdüğü başka bir zaman dilimi hatırlamıyoruz. Size hiçbir zararımız yokken sizden 1 milyon kat küçük olan bizleri ezerek öldürmeniz adil mi?

SİVRİSİNEKLER: Öncelikle belirtmeliyiz, bizim sizi ısırma amacımız kesinlikle zarar vermek değil. Yumurtlayabilmek için, yavrularımızın sağlıklı gelişebilmesi için kanınızdaki proteinlere ihtiyacımız var. Hiçbirimiz sarımsak sevmeyiz. Sarımsağı gıda olarak tüketirseniz sizden uzak dururuz, çünkü kanınızdaki sarımsağın kokusunu alırız. Unutmadan, bizi öldürüp kökümüzü kurutursanız yediğiniz sebze ve meyvelerin üzerindeki parazit yumurtalarını yiyecek başka bir canlı kalmayacağından, yiyeceğiniz her sebze ve meyve sizi öldürecek derecede zehirli hale gelir.

FARELER: Sizi çok korkuttuğumuz için ÇOK ÖZÜR DİLERİZ. Ama biz, sizden, sizin bizden korktuğunuzdan tam yüz bin kat daha fazla korkuyoruz. Hem öyle bağırmasanız ne iyi olur! Ne yapacağımızı, nereye koşacağımızı şaşırıp, geldiğimiz yeri tekrar bulup kaçamıyoruz. Lütfen bizi gördüğünüzde bağırmayın. Evinizi ziyaret etmemizi istemiyorsanız evinizdeki küçücük delikler, çatlaklar dahil her yeri kapattığınızdan emin olun. Kapı altı boşluklarının bizim için ayrıldığını düşünüyoruz. Ayrıca pencere ve tuvalet borularınızdan da gelebiliriz. Pencerelerinize sineklik, tuvaletlerinize koku önleyici taktırırsanız oralardan da giremeyiz.

Bunları yaparsanız sizleri hiç rahatsız etmeyiz. Ama unutmayın, içeri almasanız da kapınızın önüne bir kap su bırakırsanız, tüm küçük dostlarımız adına size minnettar oluruz.

Formicidae, Blaps spp, Diptera, Mus musculus, Felis silvestris catus, Canis lupus familiaris.

An excerpt from the zoological text The Hunter’s Encyclopedia of Animals (First Edition).


acuomotor reflex The inflation of the gobul’s spines by taking in water and air into its elastic stomach, in order to expand its body.

aestivation (L. aestivare, from aestās, summer) A state of dormancy or torpor induced by high temperatures and arid conditions. Characterized by inactivity and a lowered metabolic rate.

agonism (Gr. agōnistēs, combatant) An offensive action or threat directed toward another organism.

ailuromorphic (Gr. aílouros, cat, + morphḗ, form) A pseudowyvern with features superficially reminiscent of felids. This includes (but is not limited to) a feathery integument analogous to a pelt, rictal bristles functionally similar to vibrissae, and obligate carnivory.

alicorn The horn on a kirin’s head, the torsion of which spirals in a counterclockwise helix. Used for facilitating electrogenesis and goring attackers. Also known as a silverhorn.

allogenic engineer Organisms that modify their biophysical environment by changing living or nonliving material.

alpenstock The barioth’s epidermal protrusions on the leading edge of the wings, knees, and lateral sides of the tail. Used for traction atop ice. Synonyms include “spine” and “spike.”

anapsid (Gr. an-, without, + apsis, arch) Amniotes in which the skull lacks temporal fenestrae, with turtles the only living representatives.

anautogeny A condition found in insects where a gravid female must feed on blood before oviposition in order for the eggs to mature.

angiosperm Seed-producing, fruit-bearing, flowering plants.

anisodactyl The arrangement of digits wherein three toes face forward and are accompanied by a single back-facing toe.

anthrax A lethal disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax can occur in three forms: epidermal, respiratory, and intestinal.

apex predator Carnivorous animals that occupy the highest trophic levels and have a disproportionate influence on the health of their ecosystem.

aposematism (Gr. apó, away, + sêma, sign) Any number of conspicuous auditory, visual, and olfactory antipredator adaptations which advertise that the animal is an unprofitable prey item.

aratrum (L. arātrum, plough) The cranial bone of the barroth, comprised of trabecular tissue and enlarged sinuses. This structure houses the nasal cavities and supports five dorsally-located nares. The namesake for the eponymous genus Aratrum.


benthos (Gr. depth of the sea) Organisms that live along the bottom of seas and lakes; adj., benthic.

bicutaneous (L. bi-, from bis, twice, + cutis, skin) The condition of an organism with an integument consisting of both keratinized scales and fur.

biological species concept A reproductive community of populations (reproductively isolated from others) that occupies a specific niche in nature.

biome (Gr. bíos, life, + -ōma, body) Communities of plants and animals characterized by climatic and soil conditions; the largest ecological unit.


caelincolid (L. caelum, sky, + incola, inhabitant) Any species belonging to the family Caelincolidae.

capillaturid (L. capillātūra, false hair) Any species belonging to the superfamily Capillaturoidea. Named for their plumage, which is often compared to fur on mammals. Also known as “wig wyverns.”

cathemeral An organism that demonstrates sporadic intervals of activity during the day or night.

CDIHG The Conservation Division of the International Hunters’ Guild. A group that assesses a species’ susceptibility to extinction, by monitoring populations and establishing criteria for Red List placement. Established forty years ago in response to loss of biodiversity, due to overhunting and anthropogenic ecosystem destruction.

cephalovelos (Gr. kephalé, head, + vélos, arrow) The ribbed hood structure found on the lagiacrus’ head, studded with electroreceptors on its ventral surface.

chitinase (Gr. khitṓn, tunic) Hydrolytic enzymes that break down glycosidic bonds in chitin, most commonly found in bacteria and fungi, and to a lesser extent, plants and some animals.

cloaca (L. cloāca, sewer) The posterior orifice that houses the openings for the digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts.

conflagrant tube A mucus-lined tubular organ that connects the flame sac to an opening in the oral cavity, where the byproduct waste gas can be expelled through the mouth.

conspecific A member of the same species.

coprophagy The consumption of fecal matter.

convergent evolution See homoplasy.

crepuscular An organism that is active at twilight (dawn and dusk).

crypsis The ability of an animal to avoid detection through methods such as camouflage, nocturnality, subterranean lifestyle, and mimicry. Involves visual, olfactory, and auditory concealment.


dagger [†] A typographical symbol that, when used next to a name, indicates death or extinction. Also called an obelisk.

desiccation The state of extreme dryness, or the state of drying.

diapsid (Gr. di-, two, + apsis, arch) Amniotes in which the skull bears two pairs of temporal fenestrae, including birds and reptiles (barring turtles).

dog wyvern Any theropod species belonging to the family Vipracanidae. Includes the genera Magnaraptor (the greats) and Dromos (the dromes).

doloripsum One of two electric organs derived from modified nerve tissue, that runs parallel to the kirin’s cervical vertebrae.


ectoparasite Parasites that live on the outside of the host.

ectothermic (Gr. ektós, outside, + thermē, heat) An organism that cannot internally maintain its body temperature and must rely on external sources of heat to moderate metabolic rates. “Cold-blooded.”

elaiopteral gland (Gr. élaio, oil, + pterón, wing) An oil-secreting gland found on the inner forearm (antebrachial) of pseudowyverns in Capillaturoidea. The gland secretion is conveyed to the surface in hollow ducts, terminating at a modified spur. Used for maintenance of feather integrity, pheromone production, and waterproofing.

elder dragon A catch-all term applied to unrelated species with similar cultural and religious significance, capable of posing high-level threats to human populations. The term elder dragon is often a misnomer, used to describe very specific organisms from groups such as the squamates, cephalopods, and perissodactyls.

electrocyte Flat disc-shaped cells stacked in thousands that function by pumping sodium and potassium ions.

electrogenesis The biological generation of electricity by living organisms.

electroreception The ability to perceive ambient electrical stimuli.

electroreceptor Sense organs located in the skin used for electrolocation.

endothermic (Gr. endon, within, + thermē, heat) An organism that can internally maintain its body temperature by balancing metabolic heat production by heat loss. “Warm-blooded.”

epibiont An organism that lives on the surface of an organism, typically in a commensalistic relationship.

euryhaline A species that has a tolerance to a wide range of salinities.

exsanguination Sufficient blood loss, normally to the point of death.

extant When a species is still existing.

extinct When a species is no longer in existence. Extinction is typically decided by the death of the last individual of a species.


Fatalis Trinity An occult religion practiced the world over. Its chief deities are the Fatalis Brethren (species of the genus Fatum), whose worshippers believe that they are living gods reincarnated in the form of six-limbed dragons. Their Temple maxim is “Damus nostra fāta tibi.”

fire gurgling An agonistic display seen in raths and espinas. The animal will release small concentrations of methane that ignites on contact with a hypergolic chemical secreted by modified venom glands, causing tendrils of fire to ooze from its jaws.

fire regime The pattern, frequency, and intensity of wildfires prevailing within an area. Fire regimes are an integral component of fire ecology, and the interactions between fire and biotic/abiotic components of an ecosystem.

flame sac An organ connected to the stomach of raths and espinas, used for storing methane produced by microbial bacteria during the breakdown of roughage.

formic acid A carboxylic acid synthesized by ants in the family Formicidae, transmitted by sting from a modified ovipositor, spray ejected from the abdomen, or autothysis.

formicary An ants’ nest.

frenzy virus A viral disease that causes heightened aggression and acute inflammation of the brain after a period of incubation. The pathogen modifies its host’s mortality and behavior long enough to facilitate its transmission to other hosts. The shagaru magara is its primary vector.

frost sac An organ derived from a heavily-modified foregut, found in the mountain barioth. The stomach oil stored within can be ejected in a forceful spray, which then rapidly cools once exposed to frigid temperatures.


gaster The bulbous posterior portion of the metasoma found in hymenopterans.

Gause’s law An ecological principle which states that species competing for the same resource cannot coexist if all ecological factors are constant. If one species has an advantage over the other, then the less fit species will either undergo extinction or an evolutionary or behavioral shift toward a different niche.

Goldorolis The combined continental landmass of Goldora, Schrade, and northern Arcolis (excludes Arcolis’ southern deserts, and the Elde subcontinent). The term is a portmanteau of two of its constituent continents (Goldora and Arcolis). Analogous to Eurasia.


haemal arch A bony arch on the underside of tail vertebra.

heterodont (Gr. heteros, different, + odous, tooth) Having teeth differentiated into incisors, canines, and molars for different purposes.

heterogeneity A property ascribed to environments with a mix of uneven concentrations of multiple species (biological), terrain formations (geological), or environmental characteristics (meteorological).

homoplasy The emergence of a characteristic or adaptation shared by a set of species but not present in their ancestors, acquired independently by unrelated groups.

hydrophyte Plants with specific adaptations for living in aquatic or marine environments, submerged, on the surface, or in proximity to water.

hyperarousal (Gr. hupér, over, + M.E. a-, away, + A.N. reuser, rouse) A physiological self-preservation response triggered by a hormonal cascade from the sympathetic nervous system. Also called the fight-or-flight reflex.

hyperphagia (Gr. hupér, over, + -phágos, eater) A preliminary stage to heterothermy, in which an organism will gorge in order to increase its body weight. It will then subsist off of the accumulated fat reserves during its seasonal metabolic depression.


immunohistochemistry The process of detecting antigens in cells by observing the principle of antibodies binding to target antigens in tissue segments.

insectivory A diet of a carnivorous organism consisting chiefly of arthropods.

International Hunters’ Guild An organization whose jurisdiction supersedes that of any government. Its foremost goal is to act as a support network for hunters, while providing education, medical attention, and economic opportunity to people. Abbreviated as IHG.



keystone species A species (typically a predator) whose removal leads to reduced species diversity within the community, and the cessation of the entire ecosystem.

kinhair The soft (montane spp.) and semi-coarse (equatorial spp.) fur and hair growing on kirins.

kinsect Any number of domesticated neopteron species trained by hunters for insectry (Fr. insecterie, from insecte + -erie).


leviathan Any species belonging to the order Arcacollum, defined by the characteristic arched neck. The term has also been inaccurately applied to suchians such as the nibelsnarf.

lynian A member of the species Felis comes. The term is not exclusively used with actual lynians, and can refer to bipedal organisms with humanoid characteristics such as the urukis and shakalakas (relatives of the human and wyverian).


Mandibulaformia (L. mandibula, jaw, + fōrma, shape) A genus of flying wyverns characterized by an ossified protrusion of the jaw. While they serve no function in prey-capture or mechanical digestion, the sickle-shaped appendages are thought to be used in intraspecific communication.

membranalan (L. membrāna, skin, + āla, wing) An organism from a clade of nonavian theropods. Characterized by membraned wings (with or without feathers), bipedalism, and endothermy.

mercurid (L. mercuria, luck) Any species belonging to the family Mercuridae.

motion parallax A monocular depth cue discerned through the proximity of objects, and how fast they appear to move relative to the viewer.


necrosis The death of cells and/or tissues within an organism due to disease, injury, or failure of the circulatory system.

necrotoxin Toxins that cause necrosis (death) in all cells they encounter and destroy all tissue types. Transmitted through the bloodstream.

nictitating membrane A transparent or translucent third eyelid. Protects the eye from UV exposure, debris, water, snow, and impact damage.


olfaction The sense of smell.

ovoviviparity A mode of reproduction in which the embryos that develop inside eggs are hatched and retained within the body without a placental connection to the mother.


paradraconian (Gr. rapá, para, beside, + drákōn, dragon) See pseudowyvern.

patagium A membranous structure that assists an animal in gliding or flight. It is found in bats, birds, some dromaeosaurs, pterosaurs, gliding animals, true wyverns, pseudowyverns, bird wyverns, and dragons.

pelage (Fr. le pelage, fur) The fur, hair, or wool of an animal.

pentadactyl (Gr. pénte, five, + dáktulos, finger) The condition of having five digits on each limb.

phalange Digital long bones found in the hands and feet of most vertebrates.

photophore A light-emitting organ found of various marine animals that appear as luminous areas on the skin.

phylogeny (Gr. phylon, tribe, race, + geneia, origin) The origin and diversification of any taxon, or the evolutionary history of its origin and diversification, usually presented in the form of a dendrogram.

piscivory A diet of a carnivorous organism consisting chiefly of fish.

pneumatization The formation of air-filled cavities in hard tissues such as bone.

polledness The state of being hornless.

polymorphism (Gr. polús, many, + morphḗ, form) The presence in a species of more than one structural type of individual.

praesidiosaur (L. praesidium, fortress, + Gr. sauros, lizard) Any species belonging to the clade Praesidiosauria.

prenuptial hunt A behavioral assessment demonstrated by raths, in which a courting pair will hunt a prey item together. The success of the outcome determines whether or not the rathian will form a monogamous pair with the suitor rathalos.

proventriculus The narrow, glandular region of the stomach located between the crop and gizzard that uses enzymes to commence digestion, and/or stores food. Also called the foregut.

pseudowyvern (Gr. pseudḗs, lying) An organism from a clade of nonavian theropods. Characterized by membraned wings (with or without feathers), pronograde posture (quadrupedalism), and endothermy.



receding rhampotheca A keratinized epidermal sheath found in many non-avian theropod lineages, thought to have once formed a full or semi-complete beak in ancestral species.

riparian zone The interface between land and rivers/streams, characterized by a high biodiversity of hydrophilic plants along the banks and river margin.

ruminant (L. ruminare, to chew the cud) Cud-chewing artiodactyl mammals with a complex four-chambered stomach.


satellite colony In hymenopterans: Small, outlying colonies staffed with soldier-caste ants that encircle the larger, central colony.

scutum (L. scūtum, shield) A chitinous extension of the pronotum, found on altaroths. Acts as an esophageal blockage when swallowed by barroths, and protects the head region when the altaroth sprays formic acid toward its anterior end.

shellshocker An electric organ derived from modified nerve tissue, located on the medial region of the lagiacrus’ spine.

symbiosis (Gr. sún, with, + bíos, life) The living together of two different species in an intimate relationship. Symbiont always benefits; host may benefit, be unaffected, or be harmed (mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism).

synapsid (G. synapsis, contact, union) An amniote lineage comprising the mammals and the ancestral mammal-like reptiles, having a skull with a single pair of temporal openings.


tapetum lucidum (L. tapetum, tapestry, + lūcidum, bright) A layer of tissue behind the retina in most vertebrates that reflects visible light, increasing the availability of light to photoreceptors. Increases night vision in nocturnal and deep sea organisms.

thagomizer The distinctive arrangement of four to ten horizontal spines on the tail of reptiles. Coined by cartoonist Gary Larson and perpetuated by paleontologist Ken Carpenter.

torpor A state of decreased physical activity indicated by decreased metabolic rates and internal temperature.

Trojan’s organ One of two electric organs derived from modified nerve tissue, that runs parallel to the kirin’s lumbar and thoracic vertebrae.


ungulate (L. ungula, hoof) Any hooved mammal.


vasodilation (L. vas, vessel, + -dialtion) The dilation or widening of the lumen in blood vessels. Results in decreased blood pressure.

vipracanid (L. vīpera, snake, + canis, dog) See dog wyvern.

vivernan (It. viverna, wyvern, from L. vīpera, snake) An organism from a clade of nonavian theropods, colloquially known as “true wyverns.” Characterized by featherless membraned wings, bipedalism, and ectothermy.



xerophyte (Gr. xērós, dry) Plants with specific adaptations for living in dry environments with little moisture, such as deserts or snow- and ice-covered biomes.

xyrafitperid (Gr. xyráfi, razor, + pterón, wing) Any species belonging to the family Xyrafipteridae.



  • A.N. – Anglo-Norman
  • Ch. – Chinese
  • E. – English
  • Fr. – French
  • G. – German
  • Gr. – Greek
  • It. – Italian
  • J. – Japanese
  • L. – Latin
  • M.E. – Middle English
  • Nah. – Nahuatl
  • Tib. – Tibetan

Definitions written and compiled by the author, with some wordings borrowed from Integrated Principles of Zoology (14 ed.). Etymologies sourced from various websites, books, and online databases, including


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