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Thrifty Thursday: The Best Camera Is The One You Have With You

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

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

Two adjoining pavement ant colonies (Tetramorium sp.) battle for supremacy along a sidewalk in Urbana, Illinois.

[Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 - $300]

I was out on an evening walk near my house when I spotted a dramatic, if diminutive, pavement ant battleground. Since I don’t ordinarily carry my heavy SLR gear around town, my option for photographing the skirmish was the little Panasonic digicam in my pocket. The camera’s optics are well-suited for wide, close-in shots.

Pavements ants thrive along sidewalks and under stones, the sort of habitat that mimics the rocky outcrops of their native range in Eurasia. When colonies expand in late spring they inevitably compete for territory. The resulting brawls among rival nests are a common sight in urban areas across North America.

Alex Wild About the Author: Alex Wild is Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he 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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