I hope you'll forgive a post with no point other than to share a few photos.
Yesterday I drove to Chicago in search of an ant I'd not yet photographed for an Ants of North America project. The ant is the charismatic Dolichoderus mariae, a species that isn't actually all that rare but seems to magically elude me every time I go looking for it. Other entomologists have recorded D. mariae from the area, so I figured I had a good shot at finding some.
The Middlefork reserve hosts a beautiful landscape of tallgrass savanna and restored prairie. While the insect fauna I encountered was indeed plentiful and diverse, my precious Dolichoderus stayed frustratingly out of sight. I was ultimately unsuccessful.
Still, the trip wasn't a complete wash. Below are a few non-target photos from the afternoon:
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
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 Alex Wild on Twitter