A highly detailed photograph of an ant's face has seemingly gone viral after many people were shocked at how horrifying ants look close-up.
The above photograph was taken by wildlife photographer Eugenijus Kavaliauskas, which he entered into Nikon's 2022 Photomicrography competition. The image reveals the finest of details of the ant's face, with some people online claiming the face is straight out of a nasty horror film. The image gained a considerable amount of traction on Reddit, with some users asking which species of ant was in the image and how come it has such a demonic look to it.
Users explained that the red eyes seen at the base of the antenna aren't actually the ant's eyes at all, they are the rotating part of the ant's antenna and that the way the photo has been cropped and edited with the vignette, it makes it look like that they're its eyes. The ant's actual eyes are located further back on the head and aren't seen in the image.
Notably, humans experience a phenomenon called pareidolia, which is the tendency for perception to impose a meaningful interpretation in an object where there is none. An example of this would be clouds passing overhead and an observer suddenly recognizing a face in the clouds. The same principle can be applied to this macro image of the ant.
The image was captured with a Canon R7 and a Mitutoyo 5X objective lens magnification, and while it didn't win first place in Nikon's 2022 Photomicrography competition, it did get awarded "Image of Distinction".
This isn't the first time ant's have been captured in impeccable detail, as I reported back in July, a set of incredibly detailed ant images were released online by photographer Joshua Coogler, who explained to a publication that he had to take anywhere between 30 to over 300 images of an ant to get one final image. The reason for so many photos being taken was a specific process called focus stacking, which is when a photo is taken, only a small portion of it is visible, but that portion is extremely detailed.
To capture the entire face of an ant through this method requires a large number of stacked photos, each capturing different areas of the ant's face. More on that story below.