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Leaf-cutter ants

Leaf-cutter ants

C011/6424

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Credit

DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Leaf-cutter ants transporting a cut leaf. These are Atta ants, found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. The ant riding on the leaf fragment is a minim, a small worker ants thought to protect the leaves from flies that attempt to lay eggs on them. The ant carrying the leaf is a media. The leaves are used by the ants to cultivate a fungus garden that is used to feed their larvae. The adult ants feed on the leaf sap. This is an example of ant-fungus mutualism. Photographed in Ecuador.

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