Leaf-cutter Ant

Have you ever followed a trail of ants to discover where they are going? Sometimes it’s hard to see the little creatures. But leaf-cutter ants stand out because they march along in single file while carrying big chunks of leaves!

The ants use their special jaw to “saw” off pieces of leaves to carry back to their underground home. These leaves are then used to grow a fungus for the ants to eat.

Most of the ants in a colony are workers, but they often have different jobs, depending on their body size. The smallest ants, called minims, maintain the fungus garden and watch over eggs the queen ant has laid. The very largest worker ants, called majors, go out to collect bits of plants and defend the colony from intruders.

Watch our colony of leaf-cutter ants at work in the Insect House in the Children’s Zoo.

Conservation Status

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