Nestmate transport in Myrmica. Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, Lexington, Kentucky.

If you spend time watching ants, you may sometimes notice that one ant appears to be carrying the body of a second, motionless ant. The second individual isn’t dead; rather, she’s just tucked away into EZ-carry mode. What’s going on?

It’s thought ants carry each other around for two reasons. The first is that the carrying ant knows the destination, and transport is a more reliable way than, say, leading, to get the second ant to location. The second reason is that the small size of ants makes carrying a more energy efficient way to move two ants than were both walking individually.

I photographed these Myrmica in Kentucky last week while out with the graduate students at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary.

photo details:
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 6D
ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/180th second
diffuse twin flash