Leaf-cutter ants returning to their nest.

Leaf-cutter ants returning to their nest.

Z345/0271

Rights Managed

Caption

Leaf cutter ants, Atta cephalotes, carrying pieces of cut leaves back to their nest. These ants, which are found in tropical and sub-tropical America, build large underground nests. They gather leaf material and chew it up, forming a nutrient medium in the nest upon which grows a particular species of fungus. The ants harvest this fungus as food for themselves and their brood. A single colony can contain over a million workers. Each nest is founded by a female who, on her nuptial flight, carries a piece of fungus in her foregut. In the new nest site she fertilises it with her excrement, thus seeding the food supply for the future colony.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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