Photo Synthesis

Agrarian Ants

Today, Roche announced funding for over a dozen genomes of organisms associated with the agricultural attine ants and the fungus they cultivate. In honor of the occasion, here’s a sampling of a few of the attine species and their gardens.

Acromyrmex sp. nr. crassispinus, Argentina.

The fungus of the texan species Mycetosoritis hartmanni is grown on a substrate of caterpillar frass. Not all the attines are leaf-cutters!

Acromyrmex lundii, Argentina.

Apterostigma auriculatum, Panama.

Atta texana, Texas.

Cyphomyrmex wheeleri, Arizona.

Trachymyrmex pomonae, Arizona.

The parthenogenetic Mycocepurus smithii, Panama.

Atta cephalotes in the fungus garden.

Atta cephalotes, Panama.

Sericomyrmex sp., Panama.


  1. #1 Coturnix
    April 30, 2009

    Cool pictures – as always. Just wondering if you saw this paper and if so what you think about it?

  2. #2 samantha
    April 30, 2009

    I’m just curious – how far do you have to travel to get so many varieties of insects? Or, maybe more pertinently, how much variety of insects could a (very) amateur photographer capture within a block or two of their home? A mile?

    Thanks! Love the insect pix!

  3. #3 TEO
    April 30, 2009

    Great shots, Alex. I especially like the Acromyrmex lundii shot, since there´s a lot of them in my city (I´m from Argentina). Nice focusing too… since I read about the Canon MP-E 65mm, I can imagine what a pain it must be to get a sharp focus like that.

    Saludos from the south!

  4. #4 glen
    May 1, 2009

    How the #@$& did you get the picture of the mold growing on caterpillar frass? Or the one that looks like a stalactite? That ain’t no Toys-R-Us ant farm…

  5. #5 Tim Eisele
    May 1, 2009

    Samantha: You’d be surprised how many kinds of insects you can find in your own yard. As a (very) amateur myself, I’ve photographed over 100 distinct kinds of bugs in my yard, and this isn’t even a start – there are hundreds more that I just haven’t gotten around to photographing yet.

  6. #6 metin2
    May 16, 2010

    there are hundreds more that I just haven’t gotten around to photographing yet.thanks..

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