An audience with the queen

Yesterday I snapped this photograph for the cover of Ant Queen:

Atta texana queen and worker leafcutter ants in the fungus garden (Lab colony at the University of Illinois)

That is, if Ant Queen magazine actually existed. I’m pretty sure I’d subscribe.

The composition of the photograph is intended as a cover, in any case. Vertical layout with space at the top for a title. Next time you publish a Nature paper about eusocial evolution, here’s your shot!

Below are a couple additional images from the session:

7 thoughts on “An audience with the queen”

  1. LOLOLOLOL!!!!! I love it! Who wouldn’t subscribe to Ant Queen? Now, I have to try to publish in Nature!

  2. I can’t tell from the above photos, but do the works all have the ocelli like the queen? Also, could you comment on what ants use their ocelli for? I know that they are refered to as simple eyes, but they always leave me feeling kind of confused at what their exact function is.

    1. “they always leave me feeling kind of confused at what their exact function is”

      Join the crowd. Ocelli function as indicated by various experiments indicate a fairly wide range of possible functions in various insect groups. But mostly, nobody knows all the functions and contradictory results abound.

      Seems like confusion is the least common denominator overall.

    2. BioBob is pretty much right on. No one really knows what occelli do in any particular insect- it seems to vary from group to group, and outside a few model species little research has been done.

      They may have something to do with sensing light levels, or detecting polarized light, or perhaps sensing the horizon to maintain level flight.

  3. Preparing for the next intense round of cannonfire in the war between kin selection and group selection theories, I see 🙂

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