…happening this evening in Urbana. Photographic evidence:
Thief ants are among the most abundant insects in the midwest, but most people will never see them. They are small- only about 2mm long- and spend most of their time underground. The large relatively large size of the queens indicates a species capable of raising new colonies from workers fed entirely on the body reserves of young queens like this one. She will fly off, mate, and tunnel underground when she finds a suitable nesting site.
Incidentally, this whole drama played out on our front walkway. Urban lots can host plenty of nature for those willing to look.
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 250, f/13, 1/250 second
Diffused macro twin lite