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Leafcutter Ant, Atta Ant

Atta sp.

Description:

These ants were found scurrying along a 4" wide cleared trail across a path in humid rain forest of the Maya Mt. foothills. While there are are two genera of leaf-cutter, Atta and Acromyrmex, Atta ants have 3 pairs of spines and a smooth exoskeleton on the upper surface of the thorax, while Acromyrmex ants have four pairs and a rough exoskeleton. That surface looks smooth and shiny to me. In the 4th photo one ant is carrying a purple flower petal while others carry tiny white flowers.

Habitat:

You can see their trail crossing the path in #2, and #3 is an ant's-eye view.

Notes:

While the ants can defoliate an entire tree, it usually doesn't kill the tree. An ant village may cover a couple hundred square feet, with numerous holes and mounds.

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2 Comments

Irene Brady
Irene Brady 4 years ago

Thanks for your comment, Leuba. I've spent hours watching these little guys, and find them fascinating.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 4 years ago

Thank you for this totally interesting spotting Irene. Pic 2 is really special seeing them cross the path !

Irene Brady
Spotted by
Irene Brady

Belmopan, Cayo, Belize

Spotted on Jan 7, 2012
Submitted on Feb 7, 2016

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