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© Cyril FRESILLON/CRCA/CNRS Photothèque
Fourmis "Atta laevigata" ouvrières acheminant des morceaux de feuille
Max. size41.72 x 27.77 cm / 300 dpi
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Study of the behaviour of fungus-growing ants, Atta laevigata, in an experimental device reproducing their journeys along trails to the colony. Atta ants, South American ants also known as leafcutter ants, live in symbiosis with the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus, which they feed and feed from in turn. The ants known as "majors" or "soldiers" use their powerful jaws to cut the leaves into pieces, which are then transported by the medium-sized workers. The "minors" follow a chemical trail marked on the ground all the way to the nest. They take the sections of leaf, cut them up into smaller pieces and use them to cultivate the fungus, building their nest by hollowing out chambers inside it. In this way, Leucoagaricus gongylophorus proves to be indissociable from the life of the colony.