While in Arizona, I chanced upon a set of ant fights that I’d observed several times previously. Single workers of the maricopa harvester ant Pogonomyrmex maricopa would approach a nest of their competitor, Aphaenogaster long-legged ants, and spend a few minutes drawing heat from the guards before wandering off.
The interaction is common enough that it really couldn’t be just a chance encounter. Are the Pogos doing this for a reason? Are they distracting the Aphaenogaster from foraging? And, are there any myrmecology students in Arizona who need a little research project? It’d be great to figure out the purpose of the fights.
photo details (all photos): Canon mp-e 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, twin flash diffused through tracing paper