Polyergus breviceps
Desolation Wilderness, El Dorado County, California, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2003

The mandibles of the slave-raiding ant Polyergus are modified for fighting.  In particular they have lost the broad, triangular, generalized mandibles typical of most ants for sharp, pointed mandibles suited for piercing the integument of other ants. 

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.