Azteca ants for everyone!

Cecropia pachystachya in the forested hills behind the conference.

Azteca muelleri biting my thumb.

The welcoming crew had a firm handshake.

The Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects was held in Guarujá, Brazil in August this year. It was a fantastic conference filled with cutting-edge social insect research, quality scientists, and delicious food. The highlight of the trip was finding a young Cecropia pachystachya tree with a feisty colony of Azteca muelleri while exploring the forested hills behind the conference center. The colony responded to my tree-shaking with a bold welcoming crew, swarming my hand by the dozens. I promptly returned to the conference with an arm full of Azteca and shared the joys of these fascinating biting ants with my fellow ant enthusiasts.