Ectatomma guarding a treehopper

Ectatomma is a large, conspicuous ant that prefers to hang out at eye level in the forest understory.  As a consequence it is among the most commonly encountered tropical insects, and one of the most photographed. The world does not need more Ectatomma photos, but when I happened across this scene just up the trail from the Jatun Sacha station buildings I couldn’t help myself:

Ectatomma tuberculatum & membracid nymph, Ecuador

At the time I did not notice the water droplets in the backdrop, but in my opinion they really make this shot.

photo details:
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 200, f/16, 1/200 sec
Indirect strobe positioned for the double duty of backlighting the leaf and bouncing indirectly off white paper above the ants for foreground lighting

5 thoughts on “Ectatomma guarding a treehopper”

  1. The world needs more good natural history images of Ectatomma. Looking at all those pictures of museum specimens could be a bit numbing, but pictures of them in life, especially of less photographed beauties such as E. opaciventre will continue to be welcome.

Leave a Reply