Acromyrmex versicolor - Desert Leaf-Cutter Ant
Arizona, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2006

A mating ball of Acromyrmex leaf-cutter ants.  At the center of this ball of male ants is a young queen (barely visible here as a larger red ant), who will pull away from this cluster to find a place to start a new colony.

USA AZ Pima Co.: Tucson Mountains 
32º15.817'N 111º03.762'W 750m. 8.vii.2006.
Mating swarm along side of road. 
#AW2840, voucher specimens deposited at ALWC.

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 100mm/2.8 USM macro lens.