Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The demise of an ant on a snail

with 13 comments

As you heard and saw last time, on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on April 30th I stopped to photograph some dodder (Cuscuta spp.). In one place a small snail had climbed up on a plant that the dodder was attacking. Snails often climb plants here, so that’s not unusual, but when I got close I noticed something I don’t remember ever seeing before: an ant had died on the snail, perhaps caught up and immobilized in the snail’s slime.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 26, 2017 at 4:50 AM

13 Responses

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  1. Not often seen. I think being caught up in the slime of others is more common than you might expect. I can think of several examples.

    Jim R

    May 26, 2017 at 6:57 AM

  2. after reading the morning headlines, I can too. On a related and equally disgusting (but interesting) note, I recently saw a slug dining on dog dung.


    May 26, 2017 at 8:59 AM

  3. …or the snail is carnivorous???

    Jeri Porter

    May 26, 2017 at 10:01 AM

  4. Do you suppose the ant finally cried “Uncle”?

    This is a great example of something I’m increasingly enjoying: the little dramas that seem constantly to be taking place among the plants. I suppose the ant didn’t enjoy it at all. As for snails, I had no idea how many might be around until I went onto the burned Brazoria prairie and found thousands of them covering the ground.


    May 26, 2017 at 10:01 AM

    • “Little dramas” is how I’ve often thought about and referred to these situations, of which so many are out there. It’s good to hear you’re increasingly enjoying them.

      I hope that some of the thousands of snails you saw on the prairie were in photogenic positions.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 26, 2017 at 6:09 PM

      • Most of the snails were tiny: hardly larger than the head of a pin. But one was quite photogenic, and is destined for a post soon.

        I was thinking about this ant today, and remembered the tales a good friend from Sicily used to tell about the “Red Ants” of Librizzi. Here’s a selection from her history of the area and of her family:

        “Is it possible that the Librizzesi can be defiant? Fractious? Let’s see.

        The towns around Librizzi refer to the Librizzesi as the “furmiculi russi” — Red Ants — a moniker that pleases the Librizzesi up to this day. In the local elections in May of 2002 one of the group running for public office had as their symbol a “furmicula russa”! How did they get this appellation?

        History shows that the Librizzesi became a thorn on the side of different bishops of Patti in whose fiefdom the land of Librizzi belonged. The Librizzesi decided that they did not want to pay the tithe to the Bishop and acted in a recalcitrant manner. They disobeyed the Bishops so much and so often that twice, in 1567 and in 1571, the whole town of Librizzi was excommunicated!

        It is no surprise that many years later in the Reveli of 1748 the Giurati Don Francesco DiBlasio, Don Pietro Barbaro, and Don Pietro Muscarà complained that there were various “difficultà” with the Librizzesi.”


        May 26, 2017 at 7:09 PM

  5. I’m wondering if anyone else appreciated the simple beauty of that curled leaf in the upper left of the image. It plays a strong role in balancing against the stars in today’s show, as does that one curled tendril….

    Lots going on in this image!

    • I sure appreciated that curled leaf! Glad you did too, and for the same reason: balance. Lots going on, indeed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 26, 2017 at 6:14 PM

  6. Ah hah, I see you were in a metaphorical mood this morning.

    Steve Schwartzman

    May 26, 2017 at 5:49 PM

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