Lifescapes Gallery

3 / Nov / 2010
The Death of a Queen
Jumping Ants, Coorg Photograph: Kalyan Varma Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Death of a Queen

The Queen is dead; long live the Queen! This could well be the leitmotif of a parallel universe that exists in the microscopic underworld of Coorg. Shades of regicide can be seen in the image above, where a worker ant is attempting to murder the Queen just as she’s emerged after a successful mating. Welcome to the world of the Jumping Ant of Coorg, a primitive tribe that scoffs at most of the rules of respectable ant-hood. For starters, they don’t have large, ordered colonies, and prefer to exist as small groups of individuals, often created by a single queen, who’s expendable when she ceases to be useful. There also doesn’t exist, the high degree of worker specialization that’s de rigueur in other ant colonies. Stranger still, these creatures find their way using large objects like trees as markers, and navigate by the sun’s position, which is rather un-ant like behaviour. The one thing, every other ant will agree, is that Jumping Ants are fearsome warriors. They earn their name from their ability to jump almost a foot in the air to catch and dispose off their prey. This athleticism adds an edge to their already long mandibles, and they can prove to be a handful, with their bite being painful even for humans. In fact another thing that separates them from others is that, in this constitutional monarchy, even the workers can mate and lay fertilized eggs, and don’t depend on the Queen for the propagation of the species. Which is certainly not good news for the lady on the throne who must surely wonder if Shakespeare had her in mind when he wrote, ‘…uneasy lies the head that wears the crown’.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 at 9:32 am and is filed under Insects . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Vinod Kumar VK says:

    This time the Photographer prints his name in every soul who read this.. I knew this story of the Ants.. but had never seen the pic..Hatts off to his patience for capturing this wonderfull moment.. and a heartiest Congrats too..

  2. Cady says:

    I bow down humbly in the presence of such geartnses.

  3. Dr S V Narasimhan says:

    The readers should also know that Mr. Kalyan Varma’s photo -The Assassination – won the first prize in the prestigious The Sanctuary – ABN AMRO Wildlife Photography Award

  4. Jayanti Chatterjee says:

    Thank you – that was a most interesting article! Fabulous photograph!

  5. Dr. Satish Sharma says:

    Outstanding close up image of the battle of the ants. and the write-up, is as usual so easy and effortless. Keep it up Team Lifescapes!

  6. Ajit K Huilgol says:

    Great details and story to go with it! I am still waiting for your book release that I had sent an image for. This was in 2008!

    • admin says:

      Dear Dr.Ajit ,

      Thank you for the compliment . Your first image was featured in the March,2010 issue of Lifescapes. We are working on the book and will keep you posted when it is ready .

      Warm regards

      Cherian K.Cherian
      Sr.Manager Marketing
      Orange County Resorts

  7. Andrew MItchell says:

    these photographs are fantastic and make my dreary days in London much improved and full of hope that one day i will return to one of the most beautiful places on earth

  8. Jaishankar.P says:


  9. Alka Sharma says:

    I find it fascinating – the pictures and the text in ALL your posts. What amazes me is that so much research must go into all this before a piece is put together. The wriitng is always witty and seems so effortless but I have no doubt that a lot of effort does into it before it is published. Thank you – to the entire team.

  10. Deeksha says:

    This is truely amazing !!!

  11. Ruchira says:

    Wow! Fantastic piece. Look forward to several more. Thanks a ton for sharing this. Hoping to visit this beautiful god’s abode pretty soon. Cheers~

  12. Hariharan says:

    Hats of to Mr. Varma for this rare photography.

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