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Archive for ‘Insects’

The bane of Costa Rican farmers

Or more commonly known as… the leaf cutter ant.

(Atta cephalotes)

An average nest contains over 5 million ants.  They will travel several hundred meters in search of the right kind of leaves, secreting a chemical trail along the way so they can always find the nest.  Each queen can lay up to 30,000 eggs each day, and if she dies, all the other ants die too.

They don’t even eat the leaves they work so hard to collect; they eat fungus and use the leaf pieces as compost to cultivate it.  Amazingly, if the ants collect plant material that is toxic to the fungus, the fungus seems to release a chemical signal which stops the ants collecting that particular plant material.  Neat, no?

Scientists who study these little six legged monsters creatures estimate that within the territory of a colony between 13- 20 percent of new plant growth each year is cut and removed.  In other words, RIP shrubbery.

before:

after:

This took just a couple of days, btw.

I bet if I worked at ANYTHING in life the way these teeny-tiny critters do I would be a decamillionaire and this blog wouldn’t exist because I would be busy shoe shopping… in Italy.

 

the beauty of rain season

leaf cutter ant hard at work

 

¡Feliz Halloween!

And happy ONE YEAR of us living in Costa Rica!

 
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