25.9 MB (2.0 MB compressed)
2480 x 3653 pixels
21.1 x 31.0 cm ⏐ 8.3 x 12.2 in (300dpi)
ASTRID & HANNS-FRIEDER MICHLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ASTRID & HANNS-FRIEDER MICHLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Macro photograph of a worker red wood ant, Formica rufa, adopting a threatening or defensive posture. The ant's abdomen is bent forwards underneath its legs, so that both its mandibles and the poison glands in the tip of its abdomen point towards its attacker. Unlike most ants, Formica species cannot sting. Instead their poison (highly concentrated formic acid) is either sprayed at an attacker or dripped into wounds made by the mandibles. Red ants live in coniferous forests throughout the temperate and cool latitudes of the northern hemisphere. The worker ant is an infertile, wingless female.
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