Tiny but mighty, the Leaf Cutter Ant makes heavy lifting look like child’s play!
Amazing Facts About the Leaf Cutter Ant
- There are about 40 species of leafcutter ant in the world.
- They use their large jaws to cut up leaves to carry the pieces back to their nest.
- Leaf Cutter Ants can easily be spotted by the long lines they create as they carry their leafy supplies. These lines can be up to 30 meters’ long!
- Their leaf cutting helps stimulate vegetation growth – similar to pruning, so they are actually helping, not harming, the plants from which they are harvesting leaves.
- They are able to carry things in their jaws that are up to 50 times heavier than they are! (Don’t try that at home!)
- The leaves are not eaten by the ants. Instead, they use the leaf cuttings to cultivate fungal growth in their nests, the fungus provides food for the ants and their larvae.
- The fungus they cultivate on their leaf clippings can only be found in their colonies and nowhere else.
- The nests can house thousands of ants and has many tunnels and chambers.
- All ants have different things to do in the nest, whether they are workers (who collect the leaves), guards, soldiers or reproducers.
- Most leaf cutter ants are infertile female workers.
- Workers can vary in size, smaller ones tend to the fungal garden while larger ones bring back leaves.
Picture Credit: Yuval Gelber (Wiki Commons)
- Type: Insect
- Diet: Fungus, leaves and sap
- Size: 0.08 - 0.55", Queen is 0.87" (2- 14mm, Queen is 22mm)