Monday 9 September 2013

Black Ants and Aphids

A previous post from a couple of years ago explained my interest in photographing the relationship between ants and aphids and described my technique for photographing them. Last year I had no opportunities to photograph this relationship but this year I was pleased to find some clusters of aphids on several foxgloves in my garden. As ever, the Black Ants (Lasius niger) were in attendance and feeding from the sugary honeydew secreted from the aphids.

It's worth pointing out that Black Ants are tiny, typically 3-5mm in length, and hence much smaller than the larger Wood Ant and many other types of ants found outside the UK. As a result of their size, Black Ants are very difficult to photograph, not helped by their reluctance to keep still. After a fair amount of perseverance I managed a few images, of which the following 2 are those I'm most happy with:


As I mentioned in the previous post, an image I've been trying to get for years is of an ant actually drinking a globule of honeydew. This has always proved very difficult as the globule is typically consumed by the ants the second it appears. The image below, which is far from perfect, is the best I managed this year.

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