Leafcutter ant 'hitchhiking'

A minor worker rides on a cut leaf
 When watching a foraging trail of Atta cephalodes leafcutter ants, you will likely notice that occasionally a smaller ant will be 'hitchhiking' on a leaf fragment that a larger ant is carrying.  At first look, these ants appear lazy but they are actually providing a critical service to their colony.

In many habitats, these ants are attacked by flies in the family Phoridae.  Female flies alight on leaves in transport, crawl towards the carrier, and lay eggs on the unwitting ant.  When the eggs hatch, they enter the ants body and consume it from the inside out, eventually killing it.  Hence the reason for the seemingly lackadaisical passengers.  A fly is much less likely to land on a leaf with a rider, and if it does it will quickly be chased off.  The minor workers are defending their sisters from aerial parasitoid attacks.

If you are worried about flying parasitoids, for a small fee I will ride around on your shoulders for a day, defending you from various forms of death from above.


online courses at: July 3, 2017 at 10:15 AM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Muhammad Hassan at: September 8, 2019 at 12:53 PM said...

Little black ants have also garnered the name “sugar ant,” though their real name is, well, Little Black Ants. Not a lot is known about Little Black Ants, except that they eat just about anything (including other insects) and they really like rotting wood and dark spaces. Getting rid of little black ants, however, despite how little is known about them from a biological perspective, is as easy as getting rid of sugar ants. Sweet baits can be used to control little black ants indoors, and protein baits can be used to control little black ants outdoors. ants exterminators

Post a Comment

newer post older post