After the brief time that I’ve been involved in Macro photography, I think ants are among the hardest of subjects to photograph. They are among the most challenging . They are all the things that make macro photography a nightmare- they are tiny and they never stay still.
After trying in vain to catch one and photograph it indoors, I came across a colony of ants on a very sunny day. I had my bellows setup with me and I set about on another attempt…. and here`s what I got.
Firstly I spotted this ant on a plant and I clicked away crazily as it zipped up and down busily.
It soon ran up a thistle plant and I discovered that there were more ants on it.
When I looked closer I saw that there were aphids on the stem of the plant. Ants tend to these aphids and herd them, like cows.
The ants then “milk” the aphids by stimulating their abdomen, which induces the aphids to secrete a sweet liquid called honeydew which the ants drink.
The The aphids in turn get protection from the ants, which guard them against predators.
The ants also carry young aphids to new plants where they feed on the sap of the plants.
Infestation by aphids cause the plants to stunt and mottle. The saliva of the aphids are also toxic to plant tissues.
Lately scientists have discovered that the ants use chemicals on their feet to tranquilise and subdue the aphids.
What remarkable creatures… and what all goes un noticed by the human eye. Even though they are the toughest, they are also amongst the most fascinating to photograph. I`ll keep trying to get better shots. Meanwhile, check out some great ant photographs on Myrmecos.