Camponotus modoc - Carpenter Ant
Northern Sierra Nevada, California, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2004

The most risky phase in the life history of an ant colony is during founding, when young queens set off to start new colonies.  The vast majority of queens perish at this stage.  This queen carpenter ant has been attacked and killed by a fungus, whose white hyphae are seen emerging from the carcass.

USA, CA, Nevada Co.: Sagehen Creek Field Station.
12.vii.2004, 39º26'N 120º14'W, 1920m
Jeffrey pine forest, in rotting log.

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.