06.23.2020 Old Formica Ant had a farm, ee i ee i o

Another “found” subject while looking for the orchids at the Lawrence Swamp wet meadow…which thanks to our drought isn’t terribly wet right now. Several plants had many of these scenes happening in the early morning.

Aphids and ants have a nice relationship.  The ants protect the aphids from predators and their reward is some nice “honeydew” that the aphids produce. The source of the sugary exudation is similar to that of Kopi Luwak obtained from a civet cat.

I don’t try to make “selfies” but they happen at times and what better place to see my reflection than on an ant’s butt.  🙂

This is a fairly large crop as I had walked in with just the tripod and Mark IV with my 180 macro.  I got to the closest focusing distance I could but without my extension tubes I was limited. The increased pixels offered by the camera came in handy.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Animal Behavior, Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Insects, macro photography, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to 06.23.2020 Old Formica Ant had a farm, ee i ee i o

  1. Ann Mackay says:

    Now that is a funny place to see your reflection! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your last sentence confirms my recent expectation that you’d appreciate the increase in sensor size from 21 megapixels to 30. Similarly, the 50 megapixels of the 5DS R that I use gives me plenty of leeway to crop when I can’t get as close to a subject as I’d like. And now we’ve both shown recent unintentional selfies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I considered the 5DS R but at this point in my financial life it was out of reach and I prolonged our marital bliss by controlling my spending urges.
      Ordinarily my selfies are in frog’s eyes. This was a new one.


  3. Nice Steve! Glad the new camera is working out well!


  4. shoreacres says:

    I wondered why these aphids look so different from the ones I come across, and I found the reason. The ones I see on milkweed are called oleander aphids (Aphis nerii) and they are found on oleander, butterfly weed, and milkweed. Apparently their relationship with the ants is the same, although I’ve only found lady beetles around them, happily chowing down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would guess the ants and lady beetles have at it over the aphids. I am not sure how ferocious ladybugs are but I wouldn’t want to mess with a red ant.
      I get Oleander aphids on our milkweed quite often. They are strikingly more colorful than whatever species these are although I do find these attractive. Hard to miss the Oleander’s orange.


  5. That’s a great shot, I just read a short article about these ants removing the bodies of diseased aphids, before the other aphids become infected, and defending them against predators, so I assume the ants would attack a ladybug.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Littlesundog says:

    I learned something new today about ants and aphids. And this is a first about using and ant’s rear for a selfie… I’m just speechless! Ha ha!! Nice shot, Steve!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. melissabluefineart says:

    Fascinating to get a close look at what the ants are up to, and you give new meaning to the phrase, “butt shot”! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was excited to come across these. There were several of these plants covered with both the ants and aphids. One photographer going where no other had gone before. Maybe, maybe not. 🙂


  8. susurrus says:

    This made me smile. (As did Melissa’s butt shot)


  9. That’s a super shot, Steve! I never used an ant as a mirror before 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Todd Henson says:

    This is absolutely fascinating to see. Great natural history shot. And self-portrait, of course. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Eliza Waters says:

    I noticed your reflection before you mentioned it… kind of fun selfie, hehe!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. krikitarts says:

    That’s a beautiful ant shot with a full entourage of tiny charges. I tried to enlarge it, but it didn’t work–the little guy at lower left looks more like a spiderlet than an aphid, but it’s probably just wishful thinking. I guess I’ll just reflect further on that.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s a very flattering selfie, Steve! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. bluebrightly says:

    A crazy scene, Steve. I know it’s not really crazy, but we just don’t often see this kind of thing in such detail. Your reflection is the icing on the cake, I think. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Yup! I do a lot of reading on aphids and I can assure you that they are sooooo intriguing! I love the fact that ants use them as cows. lol. Just to share another fun fact, aphids have another symbiotic relationship. They have an endobacterium that helps them break down the sugary content sucked from plants and reconstruct to the amino acids they need to develop properly. If you wish to learn more about their eating habits, I’d recommend the attached article. It’s super informative, at least to me. https://thebugagenda.com/what-do-aphids-eat/

    Liked by 1 person

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