Cephalotes rohweri - Turtle Ant
Arizona, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2007

Ants that nest in tree branches are often in stiff competition with each other for limited nest space.  Two of the most common competitors for valuable real estate in new world forests are Crematogaster (at left), and Cephalotes (in nest hole).  Here, a laboratory colony of Cephalotes rohweri demonstrates their defensive strategy.  When presented with a Crematogaster worker, the Cephalotes respond by plugging the nest hole with the blocky head of a soldier ant.

USA AZ Pima Co.: Tucson Mountains
32º03'N 111º06'W 950m. xi.2007.
Ex Parkinsonia Palo Verde tree, Sonoran Desert.

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.