Ant Metamorphosis

Here’s an image for the textbooks:

gracilis2Ants, like butterflies, pass through egg, larva, and pupa phases on their way to adulthood. While in Florida earlier in this summer I found a nest of the twig ant Pseudomyrmex gracilis with brood present in all stages, providing the material to make these images.

The key was placing the developing ants on a glass slide.  This provided distance between them and the cardboard background, so that the backdrop is blurred while the insects remain in sharp focus.  These images are not what I’d call fine art, but I’m happy with them as solid illustrations of ant biology.


photo details (both photos): Canon mp-e 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 100, f/11, 1/160 sec, twin flash diffused through tracing paper

17 thoughts on “Ant Metamorphosis”

  1. James C. Trager

    For some reason, my first response to this is it makes me think that someone needs to write an introductory (i.e., children’s) book on ants with modern concepts and illustrated with modern fine photography. This could be a great inclusion in such.

  2. The only thing it lacks is a queen laying eggs. 🙂 Also mating ants. 🙂
    You should make some photos of the XXX action of the ant world. 🙂

  3. that’s wonderful work and many thanks for sharing……..this is first time i am seeing different stages of ant life cycle…….all famous text books usually carry drosophila or butterfly images ………………is it possible to have a higher resolution of these images???


  4. I am still a college student majoring in Entomology. This is really awesome! Love your pictures and specific knowledge related to this microworld.

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