At least 800 obscenities

You’ll probably have to look closely at this one for a moment to realize what you’re seeing.

black ant pyrrhic victory
On the back porch early this evening, I spotted a black ant ambling along with what appeared to be captured prey, as ants are prone to doing. A closer look changed that impression, and made me run get the camera for a quick photo session. Apparently, a contentious encounter between two ants (that look like the same species to my untutored eye) resulted in one locking its jaws onto the other’s antenna before dying. The victor sectioned off all of the loser’s body that it could reach, but was unable to free itself from those jaws, and so was carrying around about 1/3 of an ant dangling from its antenna, one of the more bizarre visual stories from the arthropod kingdom. While I followed it trying to ensure that I got a sharp enough image, the ant appeared to be going about its business as normal, but did eventually pause in a crevice of the trunk and try to rid itself of the dead weight, unsuccessfully. I imagine that eventually it will lose that antenna.

Ants, by the way, are not easy macro subjects in their normal environment. They tend to move quickly and almost randomly, and can whip in and out of focus in a fraction of a second; even when they pause, it’s usually just long enough to almost nail focus before they dart off, sniggering I imagine. I shot 25 frames (while the aging flash batteries were holding things up by providing slow recharges,) and got just one useful image – I’m probably lucky to have gotten that, but I’ll happily credit it to skill instead.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but if ants had a language and such a thing as curses, that’s likely what the bulk of them would be in this case.