Showing posts with label Ants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ants. Show all posts

Thursday, November 29, 2007

LEAFCUTTER ANTS WORKING!


I just got photos of Leafcutter ants working at today morning! I found a cranny in the corner of my porch, surrounded by many leaves. You can see the "door" of their nest inside the ground and the Leafcutter ants carrying green leaves to indoors!
Click to enlarge and view details.










Leafcutter ants loves this shrubs, named Duranta repens 'Aurea', which common name is golden dewdrop, "pingo de ouro" in Portuguese.



You can see the damage on the bare branch's shrubs!

Photos by Sonia A. Mascaro

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

LEAFCUTTER ANTS





Atualizei este post para participar do Ecological Day hospedado pelo Caliandra do Cerrado
I update this post to participate on Ecological Day hostes by Caliandra do Cerrado




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 don't 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 other ants 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 consume almost 20% of the annual vegetation growth! In its lifetime, a colony of these ants may move over 20 tons of soil. You can learn more about Leafcutter ants here, here and here.







As formigas cortadeiras são insetos sociais encontrados exclusivamente nas regiões tropicais e subtropicais das Américas. As formigas cortadeiras compreendem 2 gêneros de formigas cultivadoras de fungos, Atta e Acromyrmex, com um total de cerca de 40 espécies, alguns dos quais são sérias pragas agrícolas. As formigas cortadeiras são insetos desfolhadores e são capazes de desfolhar uma laranjeira inteira em menos de 24 horas. No Brasil, as formigas do gênero Atta são conhecidas popularmente como saúvas e as Acromyrmex como quenquéns. A população de um ninho adulto pode conter até vários milhões de formigas. As formigas cortadeiras não comem as plantas, mas cortam os vegetais e transportam os pedaços para o formigueiro onde esse material é utilizado para o cultivo de um fungo do qual se alimentam.

Trilha de feromônios: As formigas andam em filas, deixando no chão rastros químicos, os feromônios, que carregam odores com o cheiro da colônia a que pertencem, para que elas não se percam. Esses rastros são sua forma de comunicação.



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 in to a state of chaos and die along with her.








Photos by Sonia A. Mascaro

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



















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