Megalomyrmex symmetochus (attine parasite) in Trachymyrmex nest

photograph © Alex Wild 2007

The neotropical ant genus Megalomyrmex contains several species that are social parasites inside the nests of fungus-growing ants.  Megalomyrmex symmetochus (the two ants at left and bottom) is an obligate parasite of Trachymyrmex.  The small colonies of the parasite live inside the fungus garden of the host, feeding on the garden itself and on the Trachymyrmex brood.

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.