This is a view into the angle of thistle leaves from the stem of a large thistle.  The stem runs slightly angled up the left hand side of the image with the leaves to the lower half.  In the gaps you can see small black aphids on the thistle stem and running around them are 5 or so red ants.

Ant Farm

DescriptionThis is the oldest of the images here and dates back to my first year with an interchangeable lens digital camera. The thistles up in the old quarry were heavy with aphids, and on closer inspection the red ants were farming them. The ants trade protection for the fluids the aphids emit when stroked by the ant antennae. I have since seen this on rose bushes and even on scrub oaks in spring. I have lots of images, and close up videos, but the spikes of the thistle and the colours draw me back to this one.
ArtistRob Daykin
License Creative Commons LicenceThis work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Lens ModelOLYMPUS M.60mm F2.8 Macro
Focal Length60.0 mm
F Number10.0
Shutter Speed1/80