Monday Night Mystery

"Ah, an easy one!" you might think.

But no. I'm only handing out 4 points for identifying this common Illinois ant species. I'm more interested in this ant's quarry, for six points: 2 each for order, family, and genus. First correct guess in each category gets the points.

The cumulative point winner at the end of April gets an 8x10 print from the gallery, or a guest blog post on a topic of their choosing.

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Ok. Now you guys have asked for it. Apparently the mysteries haven't been quite obscure enough. So here you go. A real challenge: One point for order, three points for family, three points for genus, and three for species. Points are awarded for the first correct guess in each category. The…
Ok, bug experts. Who is this charming little insect? Points will be awarded for the first correct guess: five for family and five for genus. The cumulative points winner for the month of July will win either 1) any 8x10 print from my insect photo gallery, or 2) a guest blog post on the (safe-for-…
Tonight's mystery is a straight-up Name That Bug: From central Florida, the mystery insect One point for picking the order, two points for family, five points for genus, and five points for species. [added in edit- you've got to be first in any one category]. And guess what? We've finally decided…
[note: this and all preceding entries are reposted from; guesses for this Monday Night Mystery are also lodged here.] What in the world is this strange creature? The point breakdown* will be as follows: 2 points for order 2 points for family 2 points for genus 2 points for…

I'm thinking Prenolepis imparis for the ant. The prey is a bit weirder -- the antennae make me think Coleoptera, even though the wings are unusual. It would be easier if the mouthparts were visible ....

By Julie Stahlhut (not verified) on 29 Mar 2010 #permalink

Drat. Now that my brain sees "cicada", even though the antennae and wings are clearly all wrong, it refuses to entertain other possibilities. I'm going to go sleep this off and hope someone with insight can set me straight tomorrow.

No, I'm late again! I say Prenolepis imparis is the ant. The prey is a psocopteran (or psocodean, or whatever the order is called now).

Or, at the very least, beetle antennae on a cicada head and body, and cleverly altered caddisfly wings.


Real funny, Alex.

Now I'm really going to bed.

I'd been thinking Psocoptera too, but the antennae don't seem right. Of course, the head's at the wrong angle to get a good look at the clypeus.

By Julie Stahlhut (not verified) on 29 Mar 2010 #permalink

Those filiform, clavate antennae just scream Coleoptera to me, but those wings are just wrong. Maybe it's the angle of the photo.

If no one gets it, I'd love to see a few closer crops of the head before you post the answer...

Here is my verdict so far: The ant is Prenolepis imparis, the false honeypot ant, because of the characteristic constriction on the alitrunk/mesosoma thingy. Its prey is of the order Psocodea, family Amphientometae. Genus ID is pending.

I don't know about the ant, but the prey is:

Order: Hemiptera

Family: Psyllidae

Species: Pachypsylla celtidismamma

Common Name: Hackberry Psyllid