Monday, April 02, 2007

Mystery organism revealed

The culprit is the model organism, Onthophagus nigriventris. Although most of us will know it as a dung beetle. So Sarda was right, if vague. John Orcutt's brave descent of the Linnean hierarchy went unrewarded, but John Hopkin came closest - even going so far as to provide the correct genus. I, however, was spot on.

Well done me.

You might like to know that the striking horns in the original photo are just one of a variety of phenotypic expressions in this species (see photo below).

4 comments:

John Hopkin said...

In case anyone thinks I'm some sort of expert for getting that close, the guy who came up with that identification was a good chap I know called Mike, who knows his beetles from his elbow (unlike me).

Hell, I "cheated" on Sarda's quiz too. A pattern's emerging, and I'm not sure I like it!

John Hopkin said...

Incidentally, Mike's not happy with your identification. He says:

"O. nigriventris doesn't have the horns on its head, its pronotum is very much larger, and it's black and brown rather than green.

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn10309/dn10309-1_450.jpg

(The 'nigraventis' is a bit of a clue that it has a black back)"

Don't shoot me! I'm just the messenger.

Malacoda said...

Crumbs! You might be right. I have double checked my figure captions and it looks like I may have mixed them up. (Although I can't confirm that Mike is right as it appears the original figure lacks a species name). I will transfer the prize funds to your bank account immediately!

John Hopkin said...

OK - I'll forward every penny of the prize to Mike, minus expenses of course. After all, I did need to buy a computer to post the right answer, didn't I?

I'm sure he'll understand ...

About Me

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Currently I am founding member, president elect and entire membership of SWEMP (the Society of Wonky-Eyed Macroevolutionary Palaeobiologists). In my spare time I get paid to do research on very dead organisms and think about the really big questions in life, such as: What is the ultimate nature of reality? Why is there no room for free will in science? and What are the implications of having a wardrobe that consists entirely of hotpants?