Bug Shots

A closer look at insect photography

Golden-tailed Spiny Ant (Polyrhachis ammon)

Posted by Darren on August 29, 2010

I’m happy to say that greater numbers and varieties of insects are slowly returning to the garden now the days are getting warmer.  The windy conditions here are still making photography difficult, but I persisted today to catch some shots of these beautiful Golden-tailed Spiny Ants (Polyrhachis ammon).  These large ants are quite common around Brisbane gardens and are easily lured for a photo opportunity by placing a few drops of honey water on a leaf.  Trying to shoot these ants on the move is almost impossible as they just don’t sit still!  When they encounter these drops they will freeze as they consume the sugary surprise allowing for a few shots to be taken.  These ants are omnivorous and not aggressive, thought they will quickly chase away another ant species that attempts to take a share of honey water.  In nature these ants will collect “honey-dew” from scale insects, which produce the sweet liquid upon interaction with these ants.  I assume this relationship affords some form of protection for the scale insects which I have seen on the same plants that these ants patrol.  This is definitely one of the more impressive ant species with their imposing spines and metallic gold color on the thorax and abdomen.   Another difficulty that I find with photographing ants is their reflective bodies that really require good flash diffusion to prevent harsh reflections.

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5 Responses to “Golden-tailed Spiny Ant (Polyrhachis ammon)”

  1. You manage to make even ants look beautiful!

  2. So true. Ants seem so simply structured from afar, but this is beyond imagination. So many different details in this ants body, almost looks like a creature from outer space. Great job!

  3. These are amazing shots, Darren! I don’t know how large the ants are but the details in your photos is great.
    Great job once again!

  4. Giulio said

    I’ve had a look at all the photos and they’re fantastic, Darren.

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