LEAVES OF GRASS: LEAFCUTTER ANTS

LEAVES OF GRASS: LEAFCUTTER ANTS

LEAVES OF GRASS: LEAFCUTTER ANTS

I updated this post to participate in the Ecological Day hosted by the Cerrado Caliandra
I update this post to participate on Ecological Day hosts by Caliandra do Cerrado

Daisy flower crochet motif on my work table this week | Anabelia Craft Design blog | Bloglovin '

You can see the trails made by Leafcutter Ants on my garden.

Leafcutter ants are social insects found in warmer regions of Central and South America. The ants get their name from the way they cut leaves from trees, which they then haul back to their nest. The Leafcutter does not eat the leaves, they are species of ants that are fungus farmers, they cultivate (grow) their own food, a type of fungus, in underground gardens. Leafcutter ants comprise two genera - Atta and Acromyrmex - with a total of 39 species, some of which are major agricultural pests. For example, some Atta species are capable of defoliating an entire citrus tree in less than 24 hours.

Trail pheromones: Leafcutter ants lay down an initial trail of pheromones as they return to the nest with food. This trail attracts others and serves as a guide. As long as the food source remains, the pheromone trail will be continually renewed.

Did you know? Leaf-cutting ants harvest more greenery in South American forests than any other animal. In fact, within the rain forest, leaf-cutter ants consumes almost 20% of the annual vegetation growth! In its lifetime, the colony of these ants may move over 20 tons of soil. You can learn more about Leafcutter ants here, here and here.

Pheromone trail: Ants walk in rows, leaving on the ground chemical traces, pheromones, which carry odors with the smell of the colony to which they belong, so that they do not get lost. These traces are your way of communicating.Here you can see the hole of their nests. A mature leafcutter colony can contain more than 8 million ants, mostly sterile female workers. Leafcutter ants build huge nests, sometimes 30 feet across and 20 feet deep, which have several entrances, perhaps hundreds of yards apart. The colony is ruled by a single queen, an ant about the size of a baby mouse. She is 800 times heavier than her smallest worker! The queen may live for up to 20 years. After her death, the colony will fall into a state of chaos and die along with her.Photos by Sonia A. Mascaro

I could not take photos of the ants, here are some photos I founded on the web.