It has been lovely and mild weather today, not cold and not hot, but warm in the sun. And many beautiful flowers in bloom as well. A lovely day it is today.
I spotted him from a distance of five metres. Slowly crawling along the wall of the living room at about waist height. The short black shadow on the old ‘white’ painted wall was unmistakably live.
When I saw it was an ant I got the camera to see what he looks like close up. Ants are fascinating creatures, deserving of special consideration for their role in Australian ecology.
They are the ever present recycler’s, tillers of the soil, cleaners of the otherwise left to rot. Mighty ant, caretaker of this ancient land.
He probably came into the house on my back, perhaps having fallen from a tree or bush where I had been inspecting. Or through the screen door with holes in and around it.
Either way he was in and he was no doubt looking for food. What else? A mate? Maybe that too.
I tried photographing him on the wall but it didn’t work for some reason I forget. So I captured him in a drinking glass and placed the glass on a white board to better see him.
The few shots of him through the glass were not very good, distorted and out of focus. But an interesting perspective all the same.
He is clearly a warrior, ranging alone across strange lands and often difficult terrain. My living room would be a truly alien place if he thought of such things.
I think he doesn’t, he senses the things he comes to without a thought for strange or familiar. Though these things would register in his magnificent ant mind, as what they are in sense, not thought.
See his weaponry? Those pairs of horns pointing rearward from two different segments of his beautiful black body. These would keep anything attacking from behind well away from the segment that I suspect contains the brain and the head. Probably the ant could live without the unprotected rear body segment, though maybe not for long.
But what would attack such an ant? Spiders don’t, they are too well matched in strength and ferocity. Frogs don’t, they are too small for a frog to eat and probably serve to keep the frog clean too. I can’t speak for any other creatures though.
Any attacker would have to be formidable indeed to brave this dark ant knight. Sir Ant! I dub thee.
I took a few shots of him while he was in the glass that night which turned out ok. I like the ones with the shadow and the reflection. The one through the glass is also interesting.
I didn’t try to photograph him outside the glass the night I caught him, it was just too dark and he was too lively. I don’t use artificial means to keep the insects still; I just manage the situation if I can.
So it was in the glass for the night, sitting on the stool where I left him. The next day when I went to him he was very still so I took him out to the light of the sun to warm him up, even though he might just walk away.
But I had a little trick ready. I knew he’d be hungry so I put some honey on a seashell and pushed the shell under the glass until he found it. Then I could take the glass away.
The honey kept him occupied for a while. Long enough for me to get some decent photo’s anyway. And uninterrupted by the glass.
In one you can see him clearly supping the honey and you can also see the sensors he uses to taste the honey, another kind of antennae. And he doesn’t sink into the honey with his front feet.
Interesting things to notice.
Never mind the name, look at the magnificent design, the beauty of his colour and texture. One simple wonder of our Earthly existence.
Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery