Leafcutter ants could be more accurately called “leaf chewer” ants. These species ants live in the of tropics in South and Central America, Mexico, and parts of the southern United States. Leafcutter ants can carry over 5,000 times the weight of their tiny bodies. The tear and process leaves, flowers, and grasses creating a nutritional source for the fungi that they cultivate.
Leafcutter ant societies are enormous, containing up to EIGHT MILLION individual ants! Their underground nests can be as large as 30 yards across (meters). Some say next to humans, leafcutter ants form the largest, most complicated societies in the world. But can you truly say any 8,000,000 people are truly part of one cohesive society? Perhaps leafcutter ants are the largest true communities of any species, including humans! Our brains are only designed to really “know” around 200 people, after all. How many of your facebook friends are friends “IRL”? (In real life..)
We will talk more about leaf cutter ants social hierarchy, mating, and life cycle in future posts. We will also feature some fun videos of traffic jams of leaf cutter ants, all carrying tiny flowers. Stay tuned!