Leaf cutter ant, SEM

Leaf cutter ant, SEM

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Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Leaf cutter ant's head. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the head of a leaf cutter ant. This insect lives in colonies and uses its powerful mandibles to remove pieces of leaves. The leaves themselves are not used as food; instead the ant carries the leaf fragment back to the colony, where it chews it into mulch. It then adds enzyme-rich fecal droppings and a small amount of fungus from a previously mulched leaf. The fungus feeds on the mulch and the ants in turn rely on the fungus to provide them with nutrition.

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Keywords: animal, ant, antenna, antennae, biological, biology, coloured, cut out, cut outs, cut-out, cut-outs, cutout, cutouts, eye, false-colour, false-coloured, fauna, head, hymenopteran, insect, invertebrate, invertebrates, leaf cutter ant, leaf-cutter ant, leafcutter ant, mandible, mandibles, nature, scanning electron micrograph, scanning electron microscope, sem, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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