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.]