Myrmecocystus mexicanus & pathogenic fungus
Arizona, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2006

The dark growths projecting from this ant's joints and eyes are the fruiting bodies of a fungus that is slowly killing the ant.  Fungi are an important cause of mortality in ants.

USA AZ Cochise Co.: Chiricahua Mountains, Pinery Canyon 31º58.25'N 109º19.65'W 1720m. 15.viii.2006.  Oak-Juniper Woodland.

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.