Amblyopone oregonensis
Northern Sierra Nevada, California, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2004

Adult Amblyopone ants cannot eat solid food and are incapable of the trophallaxis behavior that allows most other ant species to share food among nestmates.  Instead, they have developed a novel way to feed themselves: consuming the hemolymph of nestmate larvae.  Ants puncture vulnerable spots in the larval skin- as the ant on the left demonstrates- and lap up the drops of hemolymph.   Interestingly, this odd behavior does not usually harm larvae.  Many maturing larvae in a nest bear scars.

USA CA, Plumas Co.: 8km NW Quincy  40º00'N 120º59'W, 1030m
Pseudotsuga forest, ex large rotting log.
#AW2375, voucher specimens in ALWC and MHNG.

This image is copyrighted by the photographer and cannot be used without permission. To obtain permission to use this image, please email Alex Wild. (alwild (at)  Most of the photographs on are reduced from their original size and compressed for more efficient web transmission.  In some cases, higher quality versions are available.

This image was captured with a Canon EOS D60, with a Canon 65/2.8 MPE 1-5x Macro lens.