26.2 MB (2.1 MB compressed)
3685 x 2486 pixels
31.2 x 21.1 cm ⏐ 12.3 x 8.3 in (300dpi)
WILLIAM ERVIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WILLIAM ERVIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Leaf cutter ants. View of a leaf cutter ant (Atta sp.) carrying a cut piece of leaf back to its nest. Several smaller workers are seen on the leaf piece, protecting the larger ant from parasites. 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. The area covered in the hunt for leaves is enormous, and ants may travel over 100 metres from the nest. Photographed in Costa Rica.
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