The incredible life of leaf cutter ants

Filmed in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, this colony of leaf cutter ants pulsed throughout the day like blood cells moving through arteries. Ants march back and forth along a cleared path carrying green foliage to store in an underground chamber.

Leaf cutter ants are an agricultural species who stash green foliage in large underground chambers and use it as s medium on which to grow their food, a particular fungi.  They excavate their some times huge chambers  (some the size of a large two story house), stock them with vegetation, “plant” the fungi, weed out undesirable species of fungi, and of course harvest the crop to feed the colony.  These large colonies are often home to several queens who’s offspring you see doing the hard work for the colony.

Leaf cutter ants are fascinating to watch and aren’t hard to spot. Just looks for a cleared trail 1″ to 2″ wide that stretches several meters long. Here’s a close view of the ants at work as they carry the foliage along the trail and deposit it into the chamber.

– Jessie & Ray

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