Mystrium mysticum
Andavakoera, Prov. Antsiranana, Madagascar

photograph © Alex Wild 2004

Mystrium ants have an unusual caste system. They are dimorphic, with a small, red caste that appears to work mostly in the brood nest and a larger, dark caste that performs most of the foraging and guarding of the nest.  Interestingly, the ants that perform as reproductive queens are drawn from the smaller caste.

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.