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The leafcutter ant cuts leaves (and flowers, and other foliage) into more manageable pieces using nothing but their own jaws. They have special chainsaw mandibles ,unique to this species of ant , that can vibrate a thousand times per second, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Interestingly, leafcutter ants can lift fifty times their body weight.The ants remove contaminants and produce amino acids and enzymes to aid fungal growth. They also secrete substances that suppress other fungal growth.
Leafcutter ants harvest leaves to use as a substrate on which to grow fungus, which they consume as food.The leafcutter ant is dark red in colour. Their body has six legs which makes them an insect. Extending from the top of the head is two long antennae. On the back portion of their body, the thorax, they have three spikes which help them to carry their food.
Leafcutter ants feed on fungus within their nests. Each species consume a different species of fungus, tending the fungi with grass, and leaf clippings. These fungi secrete warning chemicals when an ant introduces a leaf to the nest that is toxic.Leafcutter ants are one of the species of leaf-chewing ants.
These common social insects live in huge underground colonies (large groups of related ants) of up to many millions of ants.The average ant nest contains several of these gardens, each with an average life span of about 3-5 weeks.
As leaves reach the nest, they are cut up into a gooey mulch and licked clean of all other fungus spores that may interfere with the growth of the harvest fungus.Leafcutter ant queens are the reproductive females within the colony.
New colonies start when queens mate with males during mating flights. In Texas, Atta texana mating flights occur at night during the months of April through June. After mating, the male dies and the queen loses her wings.
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