in Fascinating Insectslast year

A couple of years ago, on the 12th of August 2019, while rambling around the dry and dusty area about a hundred meters from the sea ...


... I came across the long, narrow path surrounded by dried-out fragments of various grasses. This infrastructure was made by ants ...


... and I saw quite a few of them on that insect highway.


Some ants were transporting various seeds.


Others were running without any cargo. They were probably directed to the place in which the seeds are picked.


Since I had only a small, compact camera with no real macro lens, the photographs aren't very good or aesthetically pleasing, but you can still observe the process.


Back then, I took plenty of shots in quick succession, with GIFs in mind. Today, three years after the event, I finally made a couple of GIFs using those old shots. Without them, the post would be visually pretty dull, and I probably wouldn't publish it.
The ants in question are Messor capitatus. This Mediterranean, seed-harvesting species is present in big numbers here where I live. When a group of ants finds a food source they'll go back to the nest and recruit other foragers if there's too much for them to carry. They lay a trail of chemicals from the food to the nest using their gasters. Gaster is the last segment of their body. It contains the ant’s heart, digestive system, and chemicals for communication & weaponry. Once inside the nest, the ants start a performance that includes running, body vibrations, contact with nestmates, and food transmission. The necessary pieces of information are presented that way. The excited nestmates follow the trail laid by the scouts and if they want to recruit more they will reinforce the trail by releasing more chemicals from the gaster. The worker ants do their foraging individually or in groups, depending on the food source. If the food is sparsely scattered the individual approach works the best, but if an ant finds a rich source, the foraging party is quickly organized. This species has also been observed stealing seeds. The Messor capitatus from one colony sometimes steal from another Messor capitatus colony.


This partially eaten bindweed flower (Convolvulus arvensis) was photographed near the ant's trail.


In the nearby flower of the same kind, two Emmelia trabealis moths were feeding on nectar. The life cycle of this species is often closely tied to the bindweed. The larvae feed mainly on Convolvulus arvensis. They feed on some plants from the Polygonaceae family too, but not so often. The adults feed on a wide variety of flowers. Including these trumpet-like ones produced by the bindweed.


A couple of meters further, there was a green wall made of various shrubs and climbing plants.


Here you can see the seeds of the Clematis vitalba, a climbing plant that was covering the dense, impenetrable growth of thorny Paliurus spina-christi shrubs.


The seed in this photograph has fallen from that shrub, the Paliurus spina-christi.


And that's it. Here you can see an artsy, Photoshop edit of one of the photographs that show the ant's trail, while in the following, enlargeable photograph ...


... you can take one last look at that insect highway.



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I find ants to be super fascinating to observe. We used to have ants in my backyard that were farmers - literally. They had flocks of aphids that they would tend to and protect. They would corral the aphids together onto a few leaves and then they would harvest a secretion from the aphids that the ants would eat.

Yes, ants display a wide variaty of pretty complex social behaviors and survival strategies. Fascinating stuff indeed.

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I have to confess that watching ants does make me feel kinda itchy !LOL

Anyway, great post Bro √


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I love to see ants at work ... these are lovely ... and then, the perspective of your toes...

Heheheh with the toes in the picture the path looks more impressive.

A truly fascinating Nature themed article, with superb photography.
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Yet another sensational Nature themed article from you!

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Thanks 🙂

I saw those trails many times… just like ant highways. They keep them clean and debris free.
Very fascinating to observe. 😎
Great overview of your findings @borjan.

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wow these ants look so cool and very well taken

This is a wonderful work. Ant and your work really admirable. Short animation video looking so beautiful

Thanks, glad you like the post.

I saw a black ant carrying food in the mouth with a larger shape, and this was the first time I saw the seeds of Clematis vitalba,

Muy interesante y bonito trabajo

Gracias 🙂

beautiful shots, I like Ants
they play a major role in improving soil quality and pollinating plants. Each animal is necessary for life balance

for us humans take extraordinary actions from the ant

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Is this bindweed flower its own body there

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