Sunday, December 05, 2021

July 20, 2021    -Between 2015 and 2020, researchers from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center updated the local ant species lists for the Dutch Caribbean. A large number of new species were documented, including 40 new species on Saba and 32 new species on Aruba. Understanding ant populations for these islands puts us one step closer to unlocking the complexities of the Dutch Caribbean’s unique ecosystems.

Ants are exceptionally complex social animals, which although we encounter them almost every day, are often overlooked. These animals have highly intricate societies which parallel that of mankind. Colonies work through a division of labor and have the ability to solve complex problems through communication and teamwork. There are over 14,000 known species worldwide, but there is still much to learn about these tiny inhabitants.

Recently, researchers from Naturalis Biodiversity Center worked to update species lists for the ants of the Dutch Caribbean. Building off previous research conducted in 1930 and 1970 by H.J. MacGillavry, P. Wagenaar Hummelinck and R.H. Cobben, these lists were updated to reflect changes in the local ant populations. Through handpicking of specimens, ants were collected and sorted to determine the exact species.

SSS islands

Prior to the start of the most recent biological survey, only two known species of ants were documented on Saba. Through their research, Peter Boer & Marijn J. A. Boer have now documented a total of 42 ant species. Additionally, through this same study, provisional counts of 24 and 56 species were documented for St. Maarten and St. Eustatius, respectively.

Interestingly, the surveys on Saba were conducted after Hurricane Irma, where fallen trees obstructed the researcher’s ability to access some parts of the trail and heavy rainfall may have led some species of ants to shelter deeper underground, out of sight. Therefore, it is possible that there are still a number of ant species that can be found on Saba but were not accounted for in this study.

ABC islands

A new identification key was also created to cover the species found on the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. This key is based off the same 1930 and 1970 studies and is now supplemented with a 2020 survey of the ant species on Aruba. Interestingly, the Aruba species list was updated from 12 previously known species to 44.

Greater Importance

Understanding the local residents, both big and small, is critical for designing and implementing holistic conservation plans. Documenting the presence of specific ant species can help identify if and when any invasive species have arrived. Ants play a vital role in local ecosystems, and cataloging local species is just the first step in understanding their importance in maintaining a healthy and balanced environment.

The investigation of the ant fauna of the Dutch Caribbean is still in progress.

To learn more about the various species of ants within the Dutch Caribbean, you can find species lists at the following locations:

Species list for Saba of 42 total species.

Species list for Curaçao of 59 total species, 6 of which were also recorded on Klein Curaçao.

Species list for Aruba of 44 total species.

As well as an identification Key for Ant Species on the ABC islands.

Report your sightings

Have you observed ants? Report your nature sightings and photos on the website DutchCaribbean.Observation.org or download the free apps (iPhone (iObs) & Android (ObsMapp)).

Species reports by local communities and tourists are invaluable for nature conservation efforts to help increase public awareness and overall species protection. Besides, DCNA, Observation International and Naturalis Biodiversity Center are working together to develop an automated species identification app for your phone. Your uploaded photos are of great value to make this possible. For questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

“Representation Is the Bare Minimum”: Modeling’s Biggest Stars Speak Out