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.