Forelius maccooki
Arizona, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2007

 Sonoran desert cacti are frequently covered in ants.  The cacti provide the ants with nectar- a ready food supply in a harsh environment- in exchange for protection from herbivorous insects.  Here two Forelius workers feed from the nectary of a cholla.

USA AZ Pima Co.: E Catalina Highway 
32º17'N 110º45'W 830m. 17.vii.2007. Ants tending extra-floral nectary of a chain-link cholla.

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 20D, using a Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens.