A heavy load

An ambitious Cyphomyrmex forager carries a piece of insect frass back to the nest. These ants feed exclusively on a fungus that grows on the bits of detritus they gather. (Mindo, Ecuador).


photo details:
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, diffuse twin flash

12 thoughts on “A heavy load”

        1. Aaaah. Fascinating.

          Also, could you do me a favor and ask antdude what has happened with my Yuku account? For some reason I have been unable to log in to the ant forum for three days now.

  1. My Pogonomyrmex comanche forages a lot of grasshopper frass. Some of it ends up in the middens. Since P. comanche mostly eats seeds (about 80% of their diet), I am not sure what they are doing with the frass…unless it’s a big secret, P. comanche isn’t raising fungus.

    1. If it ends up in the middens, I would guess it’s a mistake. I have read that foraging workers have fairly poor object recognition, and generally bring back pretty much everything they find and just sort it later. I have observed my local Pogonomyrmex carrying quite a few twig fragments and small bits of bird poop. Perhaps your ants forage in an area unusually rich in grasshopper frass? Unless you think they’re carrying in more than they haul back out, in which case I’m pretty puzzled.

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