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[personal profile] mattbell
In the Arenal rainforest in Costa Rica I captured a rather unusual sight. Leafcutter ants are amazingly cool -- it was impressive to watch as a long line of them marched back to their colony, each carrying along a large piece of leaf or flower. As I zoomed in on one, I noticed that the leaf it was carrying had another ant (of some smaller species, it appeared) confusedly walking around on the bit of leaf carried by the leafcutter ant.

The leaves are not used directly as food but instead are used to "farm" a fungus eaten by the ants.

Date: 2009-11-26 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Nope, the smaller ants are also leafcutter ants. The small ones sit on top to watch and/or guard. I learned that at the California Academy of Sciences ;-)

Date: 2009-11-26 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
srsly? What do they watch, with their poor vision? What do they guard the leaf from? Other ant colonies? That might be the only case I know in which the soldiers are smaller than the rest of the population. :-)

Date: 2009-11-26 02:31 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I believe that hasn't been figured out yet. But presumably there's some reason for them or evolution would have done away with them by now.


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