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Zompopas- Leaf-cutter Ant

Atta cephalotes

Description:

These ants are the farmers of the forest, because they cultivate a fungi as food, in organic material that they themselves prepare in a compost made from leaves, fruits and flowers. There are more than 40 species of leaf-cutting ant that grow fungis, mostly in the Atta genus but there are also the Acromirmex. A colony of ants can have up to 5 million individuals, and each colony has a queen that can live between 15 to 20 years. The colony is organized into several castes, each of which specializes in a specific task. The soldier’s ants, guard the entrance and explore, the medium sized ones (the ones in the photos), cut the leaves and take them to the nests that are underground, sometimes up to 7 meters deep, and could cover 6 meters in diameter. A group of workers take care of the garbage, they cannot be in different areas and could be killed by the workers, the minima’s are the smallest and they travel in top of the leaves that the regular workers are taken into the nest, and they take care that other insects do not parasitize, remove pollution and give balance to those ones carrying the leaves

Habitat:

Rainforest and gardens

Notes:

Some colonies survive close to towns and cities, so they are consider a pest, as they can destroy a garden in minutes.

No species ID suggestions

Peñas Blancas, Provincia Alajuela, Costa Rica

Lat: 10.42, Long: -84.76

Spotted on Oct 31, 2017
Submitted on Nov 14, 2017

Spotted for mission

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