[picture courtesy of Ant colony]
SCIENTIFIC NAME : Atta
texana [There are many different
species of leafcutter ants all over the world. They all have the
basic same features with several exceptions when adapting to their enviorment.
This is the name of the leafcutter species located at the FortWorth Zoo.]
|GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE : Leaf cutter ants can be found throughout Central and South America and in south USA|
|HABITATE : Their
nest are usually in places like a rain forests or a place that grows alot
Their nest can go as long as 8-15ft under ground. It can cover up to 3,000 to 4,500 sqft.
|DIET IN THE WILD : Even
though they are leafcutter ants, it what they do with the leafs that is
collect all those leaves and other debris and form a nest that grows fungus.
They do eat leaf juice and drink plant nectar. But their main source
source of food is fungus.
|CONSERVATION STATUS: This species is not protected.|
|LOCATION AT THE ZOO : The leaf-cutter ant can be found in the Mountain and Deserts Building in the Ft.Worth Zoo.|
|PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION :
Coloring: They range from a dark red to a rusty brown
courtsey of Extension Entomology, Department of Entomology, TexasA&M
They use these casts to strip to strip leaves off -------------
|ACTIONS IN THE WILD : Colonies are usually found in well-drained sandy soil and yet are near high moisture areas like a creek bed or ditch. Worker ants are active from May to September. They are most active at night.|
[picture coutesy of David Nash]
| SOCIAL ORGANIZATION : The
lays eggs thats all she does.
The workers protect her, the colony and delivery food.
Their are three major types of wokers.
-------------------------------------- ------------ [picture courtesy of Woodrow Teachers Foundation]
Cutter: The larger ants that actually cut the leafs off.
Worker: Average size ants that transport the pieces to the colony.
Hitchhikers: Juvenile ants that clean and cut the pieces while riding on top of other ants.
|REPRODUCTIVE BEHAVIOR : The
Queen is the only fertile ant of the whole colony. If she dies then unless
by chance another queen comes by, the colony will die off.
|EXTRA INTRESTING FACTS: -When
the leafcutter ants prune plants it stimulates new plant growth.
- Deforestation is a major problem. It causes this species to spread and become a
pest problem. They do approx. 1$ billion in damage in USA each year.
For anymore questions you can reach
Lisa Arneson, the author at
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION VISIT THESE SITES:
Atta ant home page
Invertebrates at the Fort Worth Zoo