Leaf-Cutter Ants facts and info. Know Leaf-Cutter Ants weight loss program, habitat, behaviour taxonomy, and many others See attention-grabbing facts of Leaf-Cutter Ants in our animal facts archive.
Scientiﬁc identify: Atta and Acromyearmex species
Phylum: Arthropoda , Class: Insecta, Order: Hymenoptera, Family: Formicidae
What do they seem like ? Within a single nest of leaf-cutter ants there are a number of varieties of staff, which differ in look. Generally, a leaf-cutter ant is brown, and its physique supported on lengthy, skinny legs. The mandibles are properly developed, and the eyes are small.
Where do they dwell? The leaf-cutter ants are present in Central and South America and within the southern United States. They like a heat, humid local weather and all through their vary are discovered wherever there’s adequate vegetation to permit them to preserve a colony.
Leaf-cutter ants kind the biggest and most complicated animal societies on Earth. The staff in every nest are divided into a number of castes, all of which have a speciﬁ c job to do. A colony of leaf-cutter ants is based by a single feminine, the queen. This queen would have begun her life in one other nest, tended and lavished with care by innumerable staff till the day she was prepared to depart. The would-be queen crawls from the underground chambers of the nest into the open air.
All round her there are different potential queens and males obeying with unerring synchronicity their reproductive instincts. The winged females and males take to the air for the ﬁ rst and solely time of their lives the place they meet one another in ﬂight to mate. During this nuptial ﬂight (the revoada), the feminine mates with maybe eight completely different males to gather the 300 million sperm she wants to arrange a colony.
With her sperm bulbs full, she descends to the bottom and rummages via the vegetation and leaf litter to ﬁ nd an appropriate crevice or gap that she will name residence. She has no additional want of her wings, in order that they fall off , easing her underground actions.
Safely beneath the bottom, the queen excavates a small chamber and makes use of a small scrap of fungus carried in a pouch beneath her chin to develop a fungus backyard. The fungus is integral to the success of the colony, and the queen took a small piece from her start nest. She doesn’t eat this nutritious fungus however depends as an alternative on physique fats and her now ineffective wing muscle mass for sustenance. She begins laying eggs, and the ﬁrst younger ants to hatch, her ﬁrst daughters, can be gardener-nurses. Their obligations are to take care of the fungus backyard and lovingly have a tendency additional eggs produced by the queen. These ﬁrst staff gather leaves from crops on the floor, on which the fungus grows.
The queen, now relieved of menial duties, can apply herself to the necessary job of enlarging the colony by pumping out eggs in enormous numbers, producing several types of staff to take care of completely different jobs inside the nest. Some of the eggs will turn into nest generalists that may undertake all method of miscellaneous duties within the nest, whereas others will develop into foragers and excavators, gathering leaves for the fungus gardens and enlarging and sustaining the nest. Some eggs turn into heavy-headed staff with enormous jaws whose job it’s to defend the colony.
After just a few years, the nest, based by a single feminine, has grown to monstrous proportions. It could descend 6 m underground, with a central nest mound greater than 30 m across and smaller mounds extending out to a radius of 80 m. A single nest can take up 30–600 sq. m and include eight million people at anyone time. One of these enormous colonies operates like a superorganism, affecting the encircling surroundings in profound methods. The ants can utterly defoliate complete areas of forest, breaking the forest up into small glades which might be necessary to many crops and animals. In the lifetime of 1 nest, 40 tonnes of soil will be turned over and aerated and fertilized by the large quantity of waste produced by the colony. This wonderful collective of tiny bugs working as one is all began by a single feminine that in her 10–15 12 months life span could produce 150 million daughters!