Sunday, 9 October 2011

Wood Ants At Arnside Knott summer 2011

The southern Wood Ant,  formica rufa  is a common species on arnside knott, they are a large aggresive species living in huge colonys,  i first found them near the top while hunting butterflys, so couldnt pass up the oppertunity to observe and photograph these wonderfull insects, even though it ended up with me being bitten numerous times,  all in the obsession that is macro photography !

Here is the path where i found them crossing over , while observing them carrying their victims back from the woods , crossing the path to go back to their nest site.

The ants were crossing the path right near the bottom of this shot,  here are a few shots showing them carrying the insect prey back to the nest.  they dont appear to help each other!!  lol
i had to get very close with canon mpe 65 macro lens,  approx 2 inch focal distance and i found them crawling onto my left hand which was bracing the lens on the ground,  and biting me for no apparent reason!!!  lol

This one is dragging a chafer beetle

Crop from above shot

Think this was a species of rove beetle being dragged

They started to get a bit angry!   so i decided to try shooting higher mag shots of them at another nest site which i found on the third lower terrace below the car park.  a much larger colony with a "run" along one of the paths at least 30 m in length. and even found them assending a large tree hunting for food!    i hoped to find a place to  get a better shooting angle on cleaner ground!

The ants are in the trees at the far end in this shot.

Having to lie on the ground to get these shots, i did sufffer many bites, but well worth it to get shots this good!  but not sure if i will do it again!   lol

And here is one attending to a fallen comrade!

this is the diffuser used in these shots,with an add on twin layer " tent " style diffuser that clips onto lens which appears to work extremly well, but can get in the way sometimes shooting close to the ground with plants and bigger rocks knocking it!


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