Messor andrei
Mt. Tamalpais, Marin Co., California, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2004

A nest of the harvester ant Messor andrei, a common species in grasslands and open oak woodlands in the foothills of northern California.  The extensive yellowish chaff piles surrounding the nest entrance are composed of discarded seed husks and other refuse from the nest.  The 1-liter bottle at lower left is shown for scale.

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 D60, with a Canon 65/2.8 MPE 1-5x Macro lens.