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A Shepard and Its Flock

 
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Walter Piorkowski



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 684
Location: South Beloit, Ill

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:31 am    Post subject: A Shepard and Its Flock Reply with quote





Scale of frame, 5mm horizontal
Canon 10D
Canon 20mm f.l. lens @ f/5.6 on extension tube.
Upper image: Series of 29 images at .002 inch increments
Lower image: Series of 64 images at .002 inch increments
Diffused fiber optic illumination plus light tent
Combine ZM, Photoshop

A Shepard and Its Flock

From what I have read and seen on TV some ants have formed a relationship with aphids. The aphids, which are sucking the juice out of the plant, produce honeydew. This sticky sugary substance is something the ants like to eat. The ants in return will protect the aphids from predators. The ants will also pick up the aphids and transport them to a new location when they have exhausted the plants supply of juice.

I found this relationship taking place in my backyard. Two images of the same subjects are shown as some changes took place during the lengthy period it took to make the images. Some subjects refused to cooperate and moved, changing the sharpness of certain features. The lower image also got the ants entire antennae in the stack zone.

Walt
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pictures there, especially #2 where the stacking of the ant´s antenna worked so well. Applause
(I really wish I could do such high mag shots with my ants! But I can´t Crying or Very sad ... yet! Wink

The ant belongs to the genus Crematogaster and looks... well, a bit dead, though. Very Happy Wink

Cheers,
Betty
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rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19784
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome photos! I am very curious about technique. Do I understand correctly that these subjects are live? If so, then what on earth did you do to get the ant to hold still in that unusual posture?

--Rik
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beetleman



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 3578
Location: Southern New Hampshire USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent photo Walter. We have had pictures of ants hearding leafhopper nymphs also.
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Walter Piorkowski



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 684
Location: South Beloit, Ill

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah shucks, you can’t fool members of this forum! Don’t you recognize the herding posture of Crenatogaster? You guys and gals weren’t supposed to notice the ant was dead!

All joking aside, what led up to this image was pure serendipity. After enjoying the scene for a while I pondered how I would photograph the interaction I was witnessing. A small sample of the plant victim was cut and the subjects given a case of hypothermia. All but 2 of the ants fell off dead, but this one remained trapped, fairly lifelike, with its legs caught between two aphids. Their feeding proboscis holding them in place. I worked as quickly as I could with the macro stage to capture some images, but as I worked the head and thorax of the ant drifted down a bit. Some of the aphids continued to move their antennae and bodies.

Walt
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Gordon C. Snelling



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 300
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great shot, but didnt fool me either. Laughing
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7078
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope, didn't fool me either. Knew it all the time. Read about it in the obits in the newspaper. Rolling Eyes Really great shots though. Wink
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rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19784
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Walter Piorkowski wrote:
A small sample of the plant victim was cut and the subjects given a case of hypothermia. All but 2 of the ants fell off dead, but this one remained trapped, fairly lifelike, with its legs caught between two aphids. Their feeding proboscis holding them in place. I worked as quickly as I could with the macro stage to capture some images, but as I worked the head and thorax of the ant drifted down a bit.

Staying with the clinical theme, I'll ask "What was the mechanism for inducing hypothermia?"

I've often wondered whether exposure to concentrated fumes from dry ice or maybe even liquid nitrogen might be good for this sort of thing (flash-freezing bugs in place, that is). But I've never tried it. Has anybody else?

--Rik
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Walter Piorkowski



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 684
Location: South Beloit, Ill

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone and Rik nothing fancy. I placed the plant stem in to a sealable plastic bag and put it in our freezer for 3 hours.

Walt
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