Sausage flies and a sense of scale

Dorylus sp. male (Kibale Forest, Uganda)

Most people who see Africa’s “sausage flies” wouldn’t pick that they are actually ants. In fact, these monstrous insects are males of the common Dorylus driver ants. They fly at night to gain a chance to mate with a queen from another colony.

The standard field-guide photo at the top illustrates the ant nicely, but the image doesn’t convey the animal’s impressive size. So I had myrmecologist Jack Longino pick one up for a sense of scale.

Jack Longino examines the ant more closely.

I don’t include people in my images nearly enough- that’s one aspect of my photography I’m hoping to improve this year. People add not only a sense of scale but a more accessible emotional point of entry to the photo, especially for more obscure subjects like insects.

photo details: Canon EOS 7D camera
top photo: Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens
ISO 400, f/14, 1/250 sec, off-camera strobe
Bottom photo: Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L wide angle lens on a 12mm extension tube
ISO 250, f/13, 1/100 sec, , off-camera strobe

11 thoughts on “Sausage flies and a sense of scale”

  1. “I don’t include people in my images nearly enough”

    You could always use more photos of insects biting & stinging various parts of your anatomy. We already have ones of your elbow and palm, if I recall, and that’s a good start.

    That leaves considerably more real estate available for exploitation!! Be sure to bring along a nice mirror setup so face, nose, neck, and ear bites are doable. You could title the series as “Insect Bait” !

  2. Thanks for including information about the lens and settings used, much appreciated. Perhaps an overview post of your gear for compound eye would be good idea?

  3. Pingback: Links 10/10/12 | Mike the Mad Biologist

  4. We used to call them dive bombers in South Africa from the way they dart around lamps and lights at night .Got one down my back playing floodlit tennis one night and boy could’ve gat littl shister bite!

  5. And the driver ant queen is even bigger, right? My question is this, if I understand correctly, the driver ants are unique among ants in that when a queen is ready to mate, the colony actually splits up, with the old queen leaving with the bulk of the colony and the males approaching the new queen’s colony to mate with her on the ground. So she does not actuallyleave on a mating flight like almost every other ant species does, is that right?

Leave a Reply