14 Crazy Facts About Leafcutter Ants


Leafcutter ants: carry up to 50x their weight by gripping leaves in their mouths, making them among the world's strongest animals relative to size

They Can Carry Up To 50 Times Their Body Weight

Leafcutters Can Be Zombified By Flies

Phorid flies parasitize leafcutter ants by laying eggs in their heads. Larvae consume the ant's brain, turning it into a "zombie" until the head falls off, allowing flies to emerge

Their Jaws Vibrate At Three Times The Gravitational Force

Leafcutter ants' vibrating jaws generate high-frequency sound waves, enabling them to cut and stiffen leaves, flowers, and foliage with precision.

They Can Strip A Tree Bare

Leafcutter ants enlist armies of workers to strip entire trees of leaves, carrying up to 110 pounds of plant material per day. They're relentless harvesters

Ant-Fungus Symbiosis: Tending Their Fungal Gardens

Leafcutter ants tend to their fungus garden by using leaves as fertilizer, benefiting both ants and fungi in a symbiotic relationship

They Fight Dangerous Fungus With Biological Warfare

Leafcutter ants combat deadly escovopsis parasites through defensive strategies: acid spray and microbial allies. Balance prevents plant adaptation

Leafcutter Ants: Masters of Intricate Tunnel Systems

Leafcutter ants (Atta and Acromyrmex) form huge colonies with millions of ants, constructing intricate tunnel systems spanning miles

They Learn Lessons From Each Other's Waste

Leafcutter ants communicate plant hazards through chemical messages in their waste, with up to 35% of workers visiting the colony waste dump daily.

They Use Scent Trails To Navigate

Leafcutter ants rely on scent trails, not sight, to navigate and communicate. Scout ants lay trails, attracting more ants and forming super highways for efficient group travel.

Plants' Defenses Against Leafcutter Ants

Plants near leafcutter ants evolve defenses: tough leaves, fuzziness, or sticky sap. Scientists seek natural ant repellants from studying these adaptations.