Leafcutter Ant

(Acromyrmex octospinosus)


Facts

Leafcutter Ant IUCN NOT EVALUATED (NE)

 

Facts about this animal

Acromyrmex

cut fresh vegetation to feed to a specialized fungus that grows only in ant nests. This fungus serves as the ants' food source and in return is cultivated and dispersed by the ants.

Did you know?
that the first leafcutter ants appeared more than 50 million years ago, eventually diversifying into more than 210 species within 12 genera today? Leafcutter ants are separated into two groups with distinct characteristics. Among other differences, lower attines use a variety of materials to fertilize their fungi, from dead insects and feces to fallen leaves and grasses. Their colonies are small and typically house a few hundred members living in a single garden. In contrast, higher attines, which include the genera Atta and Acromyrmex, use only plant material to fertilize their fungi.


 

Factsheet
Class INSECTA
Order HYMENOPTERA
Suborder APOCRITA
Family FORMICIDAE
Name (Scientific) Acromyrmex octospinosus
Name (English) Leafcutter Ant
Name (French) Fourmis coupeuse de feuilles
Name (German) Blattschneiderameise
Name (Spanish) Hormiga cortadora de hojas
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed

 

 

Photo Copyright by
Benoit Guénard

Distribution

 


Distribution
Range Tropical and subtropical South and Central America
Wild population No data. The species has not yet been classified by the IUCN
Zoo population Only four institutions reported colonies to ISIS (2008), which does not refelct reality.

In the Zoo

Leafcutter Ant

 

How this animal should be transported

For air transport Container Note 62 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

 

Find this animal on ZooLex

 

Photo Copyright by
Benoit Guénard

Why do zoos keep this animal

Zoos keep leafcutter-ants for educational reasons to explain the food chain, and also because of their complex social system. Ideally, termites are integrated into an ecosystem display.