Body Shop For Ants?

Have you ever been on the quest for something and discovered something else entirely?

Take my pursuit to capture a “calendar-perfect” photograph of ants visiting peony buds. People have known that ants tend extrafloral nectaries on peony buds for a long time. It is one place that you are sure to find ants sitting relatively still (for ants) out in the open. Taking some colorful photographs of ants posing on peony buds seemed much easier than trying to capture one scurrying on the ground.


As I was looking through the shots, I began to notice something else.


It was subtle at first, but it’s there if you look for it.


The one on the left will give you a big hint.


Here’s one on a peony flower.


See it now?



It seems like ants on peonies have more than their share of dents and missing body parts. If they were cars, you’d be sending them to the body shop.

I think it is conventional wisdom that foragers are the older ants in the colony and that older ants are probably more likely to be beat up a bit. It is possible, however, that tending peony buds is extra risky. What do you think?

Do you have a photograph of a “dented” ant? Leave us a link in the comments or share it on our Facebook page (No fair creating the dents yourself).

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