A feeding frenzy in an Adetomyrma goblin colony. A paradox of ant biology is that adult ants cannot consume solid food, while the larvae can. Larvae are essential for colony nutrition, more than just future adults, digesting proteinaceous food and passing it on in liquid form to the adults.
Most ant species have evolved a simple mechanism for the transfer of liquid food by regurgitation (trophallaxis), but a few truly ancient lineages of ants, including the Adetomyrma pictured here, predate trophallaxis. Instead, the adults chew holes in the larval skins and drink the hemolymph directly. Larvae are apparently unharmed by the procedure, although the practice has earned these insects the common name "dracula ants".
Madagascar; captive lab colony photographed at the California Academy of Sciences