This… I… um… What?

See how long you can make it through the photo caption with a straight face:

(this photo and associated misinformation is copyrighted by Adegsm/Solent. My reproduction of it here is editorial commentary and as such is Fair Use under U.S. copyright law).

Ant no love like a mother’s love…A mother ant shows off her strength and agility as she plays with her young child and lifts it above her head. The yellow ant stood on a delicate purple flower and balanced on her back two legs as she juggled the youngster, who is a third her size. Photographer Adegsm (real name Thanh Ta Quang), who took over 2,000 snaps of the ants in a month but only got a handful of pictures he was happy with. SEE OUR COPY FOR DETAILS…Main pic: The ‘mother’ ant lifts her youngster above her head…Please byline: Pic: Adegsm /Solent..© Adegsm/Solent.UK +44 (0) 2380 458800.


If you think that’s bad, the alleged newspaper Daily Mail went and ran with the concept, somehow finding space in the error-fest to interject more:

A spindly yellow ant looks bewitchingly human as she lifts her son high overhead in a game that will be familiar to any parent.

Photographers are people who know about cameras. We’re basically dumb as a sack of bricks about everything else. Smart editors know this and don’t trust photographers to tell them anything beyond the EXIF data. The Daily Mail, on the other hand…


14 thoughts on “This… I… um… What?”

  1. Michael Suttkus

    So, what is going on in this picture? I mean, it’s obvious that the caption is hilariously bad, but why is the one ant lifting the other? Are they conspecific?

  2. James C. Trager

    The larger ant is almost certainly not lifting, nor even holding on to, her smaller (but not necessarily younger) sister. I’d say the “lower” ant was actually the upper, and the smaller ant was walking (hanging) around on its lower portion, perhaps getting in postition to pull two leaves together (these are weaver ants). The ants were then photoshopped onto the correctly oriented plant inflorescence (flower cluster).

    1. Good point, James. The photoshop would explain the bizarre scenario of Oecophylla longinodis doing anything on a temperate herb.

      1. I think you’ll find that if this is Indian heliotrope (Heliotropium indicum) as I suggested above, then both species (H. indicum and Oecophylla longinoda) would occur in West Africa… I am not an ant man, but why is this longinoda and not smaragdina? The photographer is Vietnamese, where smaragdina would be found (as well as many Boraginaceae), and has also labeled this species as such in other of his posts…

  3. Pingback: Picture Perfectly Wrong « Formicidae Fantasy

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