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Shared Moment: Balancing Act

A leafcutter ant's tireless work

  • Photograph by Bence Máté
  • PhotoZone
  • Oct 01, 2018

BEARING A DOUBLE BURDEN of leaf and passenger, a leafcutter ant in Costa Rica carries its load back to its colony, where the leaf will feed fungi that feed the ants’ larvae. Because leafcutters are active at night, photographer Bence Máté used flashes to capture the “artistic character” of these “tireless little creatures.” Following them for hours at a stretch, Máté was amazed to see the ants carry their chunks of leaves or flowers for hundreds of yards. “I love the contrast between the simplicity of this shot and the complexity of their behavior,” he says.

More from National Wildlife magazine and the National Wildlife Federation:

Nature's Witnesses »
NWF Wildlife Guide: Ants »
The Life of Ants in Your Garden »
Ranger Rick's Ants »
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