Blog Archives

Ant, Victimized by Fungus

Ant, 10mm | Fungal stalk, 5mm | January 17, 2011 | Cahuita National Park, Limon Province, Costa Rica

This unfortunate ant fell victim to a fungus, Cordyceps perhaps.

This short sequence from an episode of the Planet Earth series gives a nice introduction to the phenomenon.

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Some Army Ant Observations

January 27, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

That’s the general scene. I encountered these army ants on the side of the trail towards the end of the afternoon. The odd thing is that I didn’t see much more than what’s shown here. There were a couple of holes in the ground, outside the shot above, but roughly in the upper left and lower right. Despite some searching in the nearby vicinity, I didn’t find any other ant trails. But there were ants streaming in and out of the two holes, forming roughly two paths. The bottom path was moving to the right and the top to the left. read more

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Ants Herding Treehoppers

January 28, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

These ants have quite effectively corralled their herd of honeydew producing treehoppers.

There’s a lot to see here if you look carefully. First, it looks like quite a few of the life stages of the treehoppers are present. There’s the dark adult in the center, an early instar in the bottom center, and the majority appear to be middle instars.

In the detail below, you can see the ant on the right has just taken a drop of honeydew and the dark adult has a drop waiting.


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Ant tending Caterpillar

January 27, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Here’s an ant in the Formica genus tending a caterpillar in the Lycaenidae family. The ant has just taken a drop of a sugary substance produced by a gland at the rear of the caterpillar. Here’s a shot from about 10 seconds earlier where you can see the drop sitting atop the gland and the ant fast approaching.

Sugary drop produced for tending ants

I’m not sure what flowers these caterpillars are eating, but they are pretty well camouflaged settled in among the flower buds. Once I spotted the first one, I started looking for them and found quite a few wherever I spotted these flowers. read more

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Jumping Spider Subdues Carpenter Ant

June 16, 2009 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

I found this pair on a viburnum in my backyard. What looks like a male Phidippus whitmani has subdued what I assume is a winged reproductive carpenter ant.

I didn’t notice while I was taking pictures, but while reviewing them I saw that a little fly arrived to share in the spoils.

Fly arriving

Fly on ant

Posted in Easter Eggs, Featured Photos | 1 Comment