Leafcutter ant

Atta cephalotes

Some leafcutter ants carry a green leaf together. IUCN Red List endangerment category: Not evaluated
  • Family
    Ants (Formicidae)
  • Weight
    5 – 20 mm, Königin 30 – 35 mm
  • Habitat
    Tropical and subtropical forests

Butterfly bandage

Some indigenous people have taken advantage of the biting power of the soldier ants. The big ant is placed on a cut until it closes it with a bite. The body is removed, the jaw stiffens and holds the wound closed for a few days and acts as a butterfly bandage.

Small collectors

The queen of the colony can produce up to 150 million offspring, of which 2 to 3 million will be alive at any given time. To feed these masses, leafcutter ants grow underground fungus gardens on leaves as their primary food source. For this purpose, about six tons of leaves are collected per year, which is equivalent to the weight of a full-grown elephant bull.

The huge nests can go up to eight meters deep into the soil and extend over an area of 30 to 65 square meters.


distribution map leafcutter ants