Thursday, July 21, 2005

Friday Ant Blogging



Click the Pic for the full detail.

Two factors are responsible for this post. First, after seeing the ant war here, I was very impressed and wished that I was able to find such interesting ant pics to post. The second thing was that I got fed up with not being able to get good closeup photos with my relatively new Sony Cybershot. In anticipation of shopping for a new camera, I got out the instructions to the current camera to review its specs, and found out that I was able to get great closeups by switching modes. Not long after the discovery, I went to the back yard and intially saw a line of ants carrying eggs and larvae along the walk as seen in the top left. As I looked around I saw the bare spot in the grass, and then noticed all the activity as is seen in the rest of the pics.
Knowing that there is an unlimited variety of complex inter- and intra- species relationships, but knowing little else about ants, I could imagine many possible scenarios here. However the most obvious to me is that this is straight warfare. The main point of doubt for me is that although the winged ants were being swarmed as they were dragged out of the hole, I never saw any actual injurious activity such as dismemberment. Additionally I couldn't really tell where the ants were being taken. I did manage to get some video clips (here is the smallest-1.7mb 4 sec, here is the menu for the others), but they aren't as clear as the photos due to equipment limitations and poor late afternoon lighting. Also note that if you want to see the short video, it may work better if you save it, then watch, rather than playing it directly from the server.

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark!!

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3 Comments:

Blogger AYDIN Ă–RSTAN said...

You may have witnessed some sort of mating ritual. I think the winged ants are males that are around only for short periods.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Henry said...

I can certainly believe that, but I don't really have the background or specimens to make further ID possible.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Dope on the Slope said...

The second thing was that I got fed up with not being able to get good closeup photos with my relatively new Sony Cybershot. In anticipation of shopping for a new camera, I got out the instructions to the current camera to review its specs, and found out that I was able to get great closeups by switching modes.

Great shots.

I know where you're coming from with the cybershot. I used to use the older DSC F707 model with the Carl Zeiss lens. It took fairly decent macro photographs when the subjects were relatively still. However, any movement or low lighting and you couldn't get anything.

This year, I took the plunge and purchased a Canon Rebel XT digital SLR. The kit lens was so-so, but I purchased a 100 mm macro lense for around $450 and never looked back. It takes a long while to get used to a fixed focal length lens, but once you get handy with manual focus and using physical distance from the subject as a focusing tool (you have to gently sway back and forth), you can get truly amazing photographs.

Good luck on chronicling the world beneath our feet. It will become an obsession.

6:08 PM  

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