Acromyrmex versicolor - Desert Leaf-Cutter Ant Queens
Arizona, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2007

Desert leafcutter ant queens (Acromyrmex versicolor) start new nests cooperatively. Here three young queens tend to their growing fungus garden.  Such altruism does not last long, however.  Mature colonies have only a single queen, the others are killed shortly after the emergence of the first workers.

USA AZ Pima Co.: Tucson.
Laboratory colony at the University of Arizona.

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 MPE 65mm 1-5x macro lens.