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Thrifty Thursday: A Herd of Hoppers

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Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500.

[Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 - $241]

A prairie ant (Formica montana) tends treehoppers (Publilia sp.) for honeydew on the back of a sun-soaked leaf. This relationship between ant shepherds and bug sheep goes back millions of years and is always a rich subject for compelling natural history images.

To capture this shot, I avoided using the inadequate on-camera flash on my inexpensive digicam. Instead, I looked for a patch of dramatic natural light.

[I have more ant/bug photographs in my online galleries.]

Alex Wild About the Author: Alex Wild is an Illinois-based entomologist who studies the evolutionary history of ants. In 2003 he founded a photography business as an aesthetic complement to his scientific work, and his natural history photographs appear in numerous museums, books, and media outlets. Follow on Twitter @myrmecos.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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