Megalomyrmex symmetochus (attine parasite) in Trachymyrmex nest

photograph © Alex Wild 2007

Ant nests present a rich concentration of resources for organisms that can get past the ants' defenses.  Nests often contain parasites, and one of the more intriguing cases of parasitism in the new world tropics involves another ant species, the parasite Megalomyrmex symmetochus (the smaller ant at center-left).  These solenopsidine ants inhabit nests of fungus-growing attine ants and feed on the brood and gardens of their hosts.

PANAMA. Laboratory colony at the University of Texas, Austin.

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 65/2.8 MPE 1-5x Macro lens.