As I was walking through the woods three mornings ago, I lifted up a brick, expecting to find a couple of woodlice, and was greeted by a swarm of red ants instead. I suppose I was a bit surprised by them, and knowing how painful their bites can be, the shoddy attempt to photograph them didn’t amount to much, and I was disappointed with the results.
So I tried again the following day, this time intending to concentrate on getting at least one decent macro picture of an ant. However, when I lifted up the same brick where the nest had been the day before, I was only able to find two or three ants, despite poking the ground with a stick. The nest had been abandoned.
I lifted up a couple more stones in the same area, and about three feet away from the original nest, I found the new one. A whole community had just upped and shifted. What I found extraordinary was that within seconds of lifting the stone, the ants were racing to an area containing hundreds of tiny white ant larvae. They collected up the larvae in their mouths/pincers and removed the young to a place of safety.
I basically just stuck my camera lens as close as I dare and held the shutter release down on fast repeat. The whole event must have lasted less than a minute, by which time the entire nursery area of the nest had been moved.
I was struck by the immediate, instinctive reaction of the adult ants to protect their children from me – the monster who threatened them.
I’ve talked previously about the fact that I would probably not be on this earth by now if I did not have my son. Like the ants, it is my primary function in life to protect him and ensure that he makes to maturity without too many scratches.
It is my job to protect him from the monsters – including my own.
© Alice through the Macro Lens