Trivia question for Aug-28-2011

Posted on Aug 28, 2011 in Trivia

Carter normally doesn’t pay much attention to insects but while looking for today’s trivia, he came across these guys and liked what he saw.  Check out his questions.  Within the colony, different classes (castes) of ants vary greatly in size and shape to suit specific tasks.

Workers carrying sections of leaf are protected by tiny workmates that ‘ride shotgun; on the leaf. Next to humans, these ants form the largest and most complex animal societies on Earth. In a few years, the central mound of their underground nests can grow to more than 98 ft across, with smaller, radiating mounds extending out to a radius of 260 ft, taking up 320 to 6,500 sq ft and containing eight million individuals.

So here are Carter’s questions:  Tell us what kind of ant this is and where they can be found.   Also, soldier ants’ jaws can tear clothing, cut human skin and gouge leather boots.  But their is one thing their jaws can not do, tell us what that is?

Good Luck 😉


Congratulations goes out to the folks at “Not perfect? Me neither” for being the first to identify the ants we featured. These ants are known as Leaf-cutter Ants. Leaf-cutter ants, a non-generic name, are any of 47 species of leaf-chewing ants. These species of tropical, fungus-growing ants are all endemic to South and Central America and parts of the southern United States.

Soldier ants have massive jaws which can rip through most obstacles but the one thing they can not do with those jaws is eat.  They actually need to be fed by the worker ants.  Leaf-cutter ants have very specific roles when it comes to taking care of the fungal garden and dumping the refuse. Waste management is a key role for each colony’s longevity. The necrotrophic parasite Escovopsis of the fungal cultivar threatens the ants’ food source, and is thus a constant danger to the ants. The waste-transporters and waste heap workers are the older, more dispensable leaf-cutter ants, ensuring the healthier and younger leaf-cutter ants can work on the fungal garden.  Here is more info on these unique ants: Leaf-cutter ants

Thanks for playing along 😉