Army ants are different to most ants in that they do not build permanent mound-like nests for their colonies. Rather, the worker ants build a living nest with their bodies to protect the queen, young ants and food.
Taken by Matthew Lutz and Chris Reid on Panama’s Barro Colordo Island, this image shows workers of the army ant species Eciton hamatum forming a bridge with their bodies. This bridge could become the start of a complicated structure with many chambers, all formed from living ants.
Titled “Living Architecture”, Lutz and Reid submitted this image into Princeton University’s 2014 Art of Science.
Now in its seventh year, the Art of Science competition – open to the entire Princeton community – explores the interplay between science and art and consists of images produced during the course of scientific inquiry that have aesthetic merit.
Image credit: Matthew Lutz, Chris Reid | Princeton University Art of Science