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The highly social leaf-cutting ant is named for its habit of cutting and carrying leaves back to its underground nest. The ants do not eat the leaves. Instead, the leaf fragments are used as compost to grow fungus gardens that feed the ants.

group of leaf cutter ants carrying leaves

Did You Know?

Ants leave behind scent trails to find their way back home or to a food source.

Quick Facts

Latin Name:
Atta cephalotes

Northern and central South America

Tropical forest and fields

Worker – 1 to 2 years, Queen – 15 to 20 years

Zoo Location:
World of the Insect