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Seth Burgess
Adding my fair share of bugs to G+
Adding my fair share of bugs to G+
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Here's something I don't see too often - an ant that is sitting still!  

This hairy little Pheidole sp. ant must have been sleeping since she allowed me to get off 11 shots in a row which I then combined in Photoshop to make this stack (there's a few discontinuities left and some required manual intervention, particularly the antennae - its not a perfect process).  Staying this still, and in a fairly nice pose, is incredibly rare happening in my experience, and since she "woke up" she's not stayed still since.  If she'd pose again I'd tweak some lighting ratios a bit, but overall I'm still pretty happy with it.
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Brains! Brains!... wait, it's not actually brains that are taken over? New study shows that the Ophiocordyceps fungus is actually directly controlling the ants muscles, making it a meat puppet rather than changing the brain to do its bidding. I think that makes Ophiocordyceps even weirder.

https://www.cnet.com/news/fungal-parasite-controls-ants-muscles-zombies-deep-learning/

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Just another fire ant shot.

This Solenopsis invicta has one characteristic that usually means it's instantly culled - the eye missed focus here. So don't zoom into the head, ok?

However I like lighting, the pose (she's running so there's some action implied) and really like the row of hairs covering her body being nicely illuminated by backlight. It's also a nice clear shot of one characteristic important to ID'ing a fire ant - the 2 bumps before the gaster (petiole and post-petiole). Less clear but still distinguishable here is the clubbed antenna - the last 2 segments are enlarged on Solenopsis species.
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Solenopsis invicta

See all the hairs on this fire ant? They insure you pretty much can't drown this ant - it will trap air bubbles in those hairs and use it to float. As an extension to the individual effect, they multiply the effect and create a living raft to save any nest that's in danger of being drowned - something those in Houston are becoming all too familiar with.

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Another shot of Crematogaster queen and worker. Note that the worker was climbing on the queen's antenna here - not grooming it, but just kind of barreling over.
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Winging it

I'd assumed Crematogaster ants were called Acrobat Ants because they make their living climbing trees/vines, but I'm having my doubts now. Here this worker decides to check out the perch from the queen's wings.
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Crematogaster laeviuscula worker and princess

When flipping a rock, I discovered a nest of Crematogaster ants and collected some princesses (unmated future queens, alates, gynes, etc) that were being tended to and some of the workers feeding them for a photo shoot.

I expected them to continue tending them making for an easy behavioral shot, but I mostly found that they used the princess as a jungle gym - I may post a few pics if you ask nicely. This is one of the few where they seemed to be relatively civil and mostly in the same plane for focussing.
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Hi Macro Photography Community,

We just passed 200,000 members! It seems as good a time as any to ask - what do you want this community to become? Is it good as it is? What do you like, what don't you like about it, and what do you think can be done? Do you read text-only posts in communities dominated by pictures?

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+Andreas Kay has a stream of amazing critters that inhabit our world - like this one. Just cool.
Bunny Harvestman, Metagryne bicolumnata, Cosmetidae, Opiliones from Ecuador: www.flickr.com/andreaskay/albums
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