Fine image Bruce! I always have a very
hard time getting my automatic compact to do the right exposure for tiny white woodlice on a dark background - nearly always get the woodlice overexposed and blurred
Not much to add, except that the woodlouse is totally blind and hence you see the typical quite "nervously feeling about" with the antennae sort of behaviour I'm sure you've observed. The woodlice are not attacked much by the ants, and if they are they just clamp down and wait for the ants to "get a grip, get real" again
It's basically a mutually beneficial relationship as the woodlice feed of "litter" in the ants nest (housekeeping, avoiding fungal problems etc) and the ants "provide" the woodlice with food and a very stable environment (moist and temperature wise), which the woodlice appreciate. Other woodlice species actually like ant nests too, probably mostly for the stable environment but are less specialized in their litter and may be more susceptible to the odd ant-attack-for-no-reason.
The cool thing is that woodlice and ants obviously also "travel" together, obviously when an ants nest is disturbed and the ants move on to the next stone or so, the woodlice find them again, but also reports from eastern Europe show that a new introduction of an ant species went hand-in-hand with the ant woodlice
Cheers for the nice shot!
P.S. As for Paul's question: They do seem to be fairly localized - I only find them every now and then and in many areas that I know well (turned every stone) they're simply not present at all - even if various species of "suitable" ants are. The official dutch status is "VERY COMMON, WIDESPREAD", while personally I would have them down for "Scarce" or so. Maybe I just live in the wrong neck of the woods - I know I do
look for them hard enough ... From the top of my head I'm not sure if there is a correlation with soil types (I know researchers are very keen on getting data on the soil type too with reports of P. hoff.
) but I seem to find them a tad more on "sandy/calcerous" soils.