Atta sexdens Leafcutter Ant
The Atta sexdens Leafcutter Ant - a fascinating addition to any ant colony enthusiast's collection. Not suitable for beginners. These ants are known for their impressive ability to cut and transport large leaves to their underground nests, where they use them to cultivate a fungus that serves as their primary food source. With a distinctive reddish-brown colouration and a highly organized social structure, these ants are a joy to observe and care for.Queen ants have a size of 30mm and are reddish-brown. Workers, on the other hand, range in size from 3 to 16mm and also have a reddish-brown colour. Majors are sized of 18 to 23mm.
Unlike most ants that rely on scavenging for food, leaf-cutter ants have evolved a sophisticated farming system. The leaves they cut are not eaten directly but are used as a substrate for cultivating a specific type of fungus. This fungus serves as their primary food source. By cutting and bringing leaves back to their nests, the ants create an ideal environment for the fungus to grow and thrive.
The process of leaf-cutting is a collective effort carried out by different castes within the ant colony. The workers, which are sterile females, are responsible for cutting leaves. They use their powerful jaws to slice through the leaves and create leaf fragments of various sizes. These leaf fragments are then carried back to the nest by the workers, forming long lines of ants moving in a coordinated manner. This impressive division of labour allows leaf-cutter ants to efficiently gather enough leaves to sustain their fungus gardens.