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Leaf cutter ant, SEM

Leaf cutter ant, SEM

Z345/0582

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Credit

STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY 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.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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