by Meghan Barrett
Abstract: absent bodies integrate
they fly once
before they shed their wings
a virgin relies on touch, clawed
altered and found a queen
Materials and Methods:
Cold anesthetized, we estimate the Catalina
mountains, the brightfield, reduced silver
and stained species, caught on flowers
we fed chopped crickets and
honey water, artifacts
fragments of colonies, diffuse overnight
both workers and virgins are female, bent
backwards along spine-bodies dense,
gives rise to the cup, Mass-fills a dark sex
not complete but
Discussion: is this vision in ants? collateral, the
nest experience-dependent and spread
to desert wood, under the light
of thin sheets of paper wasps
we fly through the swarm, coarser;
delicate Medulla-serpentine in amber
branches: a speck against the sky
Found Poem Source: Ehmer B, Gronenberg W. 2004. Mushroom body volumes and visual interneurons in ants: comparison between sexes and castes. J Comp Neurol 469: 198-213.
Honeybee dance evolution from Apis florea to Apis mellifera
by Meghan Barrett
This is the old queen, measured in comb
a red dwarf nesting on cliff faces
the dance floor rich with locust bodies.
To suggest a homeless swarm will force her
ample crown to a cage, and she is prone to
We are the chosen, driven in rapid
number, a hollow tree cluster dancing
our single discoveries, artefacts deviated
by precision; we are all dawn bodies and
in evening nectar we
have flown just to determine the point
where our evolution diverged.
We are dots sharing a tune with nestmates
and floral patches; we are full of brood
but depleted. One giant, all of us puzzling
out the symbolic language of gravity, the colony
lifts off, dances on, a need to remain for the future
Did we come into existence
only for this?
Found Poem Source: Beekman M, Gloag R, Even N, Wattanachaiyingchareon W, Oldroyd B. 2008. Dance precision of Apis florea – clues to the evolution of the honeybee dance language? Behav Ecol Sociobio 62: 1259-1265.
Meghan Barrett is currently a biology PhD student at Drexel University, studying an expanded version of ‘bug brains’. Meghan hails from Rochester, NY and is greatly inspired by the ecology of the upstate area, hazelnut coffee, and her cat, Nyx. The biology behind her poetry and more about her work can be found at: meghan-barrett.com.