What the Heck Is This?

This photo by Alex Wild is just amazing, and it illustrates how little we know about the world under our feet.

Okay, that's all the hint you get. The image itself offers some pretty obvious clues, but to guess exactly what this is, you'd have to be an expert of sorts.

See below for the full size image and an explanation.

It's a photo of honeypot ants which, like Pooh, like to keep some food stored around the home. Some ants in each honeypot ant colony are living receptacles called "repletes." They get engorged with food and hang from the ceilings of deep underground chambers.

Myrmecocystus mexicanus, as the species is known, is a soil-nesting ant living in dry areas western North America.

Check out more wild photos from Alex Wild, and more about ants on his bug website.

Some honeypot ants act as living receptacles for the colony's food. (Image credit: Alex Wild, myrmecos.net)

Got a strange or interesting photo related to science, nature or technology? What the Heck, send it to me, and maybe I'll use it. Or follow me on Twitter, or Facebook.

Robert Roy Britt

Robert is an independent health and science journalist and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former editor-in-chief of Live Science with over 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked on websites such as Space.com and Tom's Guide, and is a contributor on Medium, covering how we age and how to optimize the mind and body through time. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.