L e a f    C u t t e r    A n t s

Ants, like humans, are social, in a sense...Ants, together with bees, wasps, and termites, are the only the social insects. With ants, in general, you have a division of labor...different ants do different tasks...You have the Queen, which is the only one, in most species, which lays eggs; so they have “production,” and the growth of the colony is dependent on the Queen. And the workers are the “labor force.” Different workers, sometimes different sizes or different ages, have specific tasks. For instance, in leaf-cutting ants, which is one of the most complex social organizations among the ants, it’s so complex because they don’t just cut leaves to eat. They use these leaves to grow the fungi which is their food source. So leaf-cutting ants are agriculturists, farmers, just like humans, but beginning well before humans!

In this society of leaf-cutting ants you have very small ants which take care of the fungi. And you have bigger ants which are strong enough to cut leaves. And finally you have the soldiers. The soldiers cut leaves sometimes, too, but only the very tough leaves. But they are mostly involved in mass defense. For instance, if army ants, a kind of enemy of leaf-cutting ants, invade the leaf-cutting ants’ nest, thousands of soldiers go outside the nest to defend the rest of the nest. And many die in these battles, but the nest survives in the end, which is the purpose.

Heraldo’s Journals Leaf Cutter Ants    1     2     3     4