Notes

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This section will be for informal and miscellaneous articles about leafcutters. Unlike the research section, it's more of a free for all kind of thing, so feel free to send in your thoughts, comments, and rants about leafcutting ants. The author reserves the right to reject or accept any materials.

Lithodytes lineatus - the secretive ant frog
On an oppressively hot November day in the year 1977 Andreas Schlüter heard a melodious tone that sounded like a recorder coming from the entrance to a leaf cutter ant (Atta cephalotes) nest. At first it was unclear what was making the noise.

- by Andreas Schlueter (2007/7/20)

A Leafcutter Ant Adventure in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
It was with great anticipation that I stepped off the airport gate and walked into the somewhat humid air of Brownsville, Texas. This is a narrative of a 4-day trip I took to Texas in search of Atta texana and the famed Atta mexicana.

- by Airlan Sunjian (2007/2/7)

Acromyrmex versicolor: Mating Flight
Thursday was a humid, overcast day with quite a bit of rain which lasted into the night. On Friday morning, R. and my daughter K., who is visiting from West Virginia, got me out of bed to watch the incredible sight of swarms of flying ants in nuptial flight. Each swarm swirled around like a dust devil.

- by Pam Shack (2006/8/10)

Acromyrmex octospinosus: Gefahr in Deutschland
Die Wildrosen waren als Erste dran. Fein säuberlich waren die Blätter vom äußeren Rand her abgesäbelt. Karl Ditz musste nicht warten, bis auch die Fuchsien und der Hibiskus in seinem Garten kahlgefressen waren, um die für den Schaden verantwortlichen Übeltäter zu entdecken: Schon bald sah der pensionierte Landschaftsgärtnermeister regelrechte Straßen ungewöhnlich großer, kräftiger Ameisen durch seine Grünanlage ziehen.

- VON ALEXANDRA KLAUS/Tamandua (2006/8/5)

Trachymyrmex septentrionalis: Nascent Leafcutter?
Similar to their leaf cutting relatives in the genus Atta, Trachymyrmex cut sections of leaves with their mandibles, which they then carry piece by piece to their nests, to use as a substrate to grow their fungus on. I recently (April 22, 2006) observed this interesting behavior in the front yard of a house owned by David Cross and Juliet Tang in Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi.

- by Joe MacGown (2006/6/12)

Guerra contra los zompopos
No son simples hormigas, es una de las especies de insectos más temidas por productores, reforestadores, jardineros y dueños de casa, por ser una de las plagas más extendidas y voraces de Mesoamérica.

- por Laura Valle Otero (2006/01/26)

Leaf-Cutting Ants on a Rampage in South Texas
For some reason, leaf-cutting ants in South Texas are much more prevalent this year than most. Homeowners, citrus growers and now even cotton farmers are complaining that the ants are mercilessly stripping their plants of leaves. Dr. Victor French, an entomologist at the Texas A&M-Kingsville Citrus Center at Weslaco, thinks the increased activity may be drought-related. But whatever the reason, the ants are on a rampage, and there aren't many products available to treat them.

- by Rod Santa Ana III (2006/01/24)

Homeowners Left Vulnerable to Leafcutter Ant Excavations
And you thought fire ants were bad. Fireants are cruel pests, but at least they can be controlled and don't pose a risk to your home. Leafcutter ants, however, can be a huge pain when it comes to your house's landscape and foundation.

- by Robert Burns (2006/01/15)

Un problema con color de hormiga
El diminuto insecto desestabiliza el ecosistema y puede derrumbar los cimientos de las viviendas. Las comunas 2, 3, 4, 5, 17, 19 y el Distrito de Aguablanca, las m?s afectadas. Sin embargo, el jarill?n del r?o Cauca es el caso que m?s preocupa a los especialistas.

- por El Pais (2005/01/28)

Temporada de hormigas culonas
La 'cosecha' de hormigas culonas no solo resulta ser un manjar apetitoso sino también un buen negocio para cientos de familias que viven de estos animalitos.

- por Axxonline (2004/12/30)

Leafcutter ants use bioweapons against enemies!
One of the major enemies of Atta colonies are Nomamyrmex army ants, highly-specialized, robust army ants who prey on young leaf-cutter colonies. The main deterrent against these army ants are of course the awesome soldiers of the leafcutters, but there are some interesting observations made that point to some other ways that leafcutter ants use so-called "bioweapons" to deter predation.

- by A. Sunjian (July 16, 2004)

Atta cephalotes versus Nomamyrmex esenbeckii
This excerpt is from the research article by Monica Swartz entitled "Predation on an Atta cephalotes colony by an army ant, Nomamyrmex esenbeckii" in the journal Biotropica 30(4):682-684. The locale of the event was in the Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica.

- by Monica Swartz (July 16, 2004)

A Yucatan experiment
I pushed my pocket knife into the trail. The traffic was slightly hampered, but soon a soldier appeared and antennated the handle.

- by Dr. A. Buschinger (June 23, 2004)

Ant Barbershop
Barbara said her hair was too long and was looking for someone to cut it a bit. We found a trail of leafcutter ants that included a few huge members of the soldier caste....

- by Tom Davis (February 12, 2004)

Soldados de Los Zompopos
After the capture, covered in sweat and dirt from climbing around, I met Ernesto, general manager of the Eco-Escuela, in a tienda (shop) and showed him the soldiers. He said, "Oh, those are really small, you should go out to the jungle ? they get really big out there."

- by D. Allan Drummond (January 18, 2004)

A different kind of deforestation
Watching an ant carry a leaf a few times its size is mildly impressive the first time, but seeing an ant hold my hat?this was something else altogether.

- by Joe Kissell (January 17, 2004)

Panama Leaf cutter ants adapt well to city life
One recent morning we noticed leaf cutter ants on this croton bush outside our Panama City office, which at the time was a pretty sight, covered as it was with large yellow leaves. The following afternoon, this was all that was left of the bush.

- by Eric Jackson (January 16, 2004)

John Huston and the Night of the Leafcutter Ants
Far off in the distance, I could faintly hear the drone of another speaker lauding the memory of director John Huston, and behind me people chatted amiably as they crossed one of the swaying bridges that connected the Isla Cuale to the rest of Puerto Vallarta. It was a warm, star-filled night, and I had just found my first Atta mexicana colony!

- by A. Sunjian (December 28, 2003)

Fire ants attack Atta mexicana foragers
On a trip to Puerto Vallarta last November 2003, I came upon the scene of a massacre. Foragers from a large Atta colony had stumbled upon a nest of stinging fire ants, and about 10-20 dead and dying leafcutters littered the ground.

- by A. Sunjian (December 15, 2003)

Army ant raid, or a wrong turn?
A column of perhaps a few hundred army ants went into the Atta nest and a couple minutes later the raiding column came pouring out along with several dozen Atta majors.

- by Tim Linksvayer (November 2, 2003)

Keying Atta spp by smell
My relationship with Atta was love/hate. They are really interesting animals, but they would also do things like carry off my entire vegetable garden overnight.

- by Alex Wild (November 2, 2003)

A case of leaf-cutting behavior in Trachymyrmex septentrionalis?
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis is a "lesser" fungus-grower, which normally grows its fungus on caterpillar dung or fallen flower parts such as oak catkins or flower petals. In extreme circumstances, they will cut leaves.

- by Dr. James C. Trager (October 13, 2003)

Zompopos Hunting in Downtown San Jose
In Costa Rica, leaf-cutter ants are called "Zompopos". This is not just a generalized name for ants, but one given specifically by the local people for those big red ants that collect leaves and travel in long lines.

- by Alan Sunjian (November, 2002)

The Paquera Zompopos hunting expedition
I've found that the easiest way to find zompopos in Costa Rica is to simply ask people about it.

- by Alan Sunjian (November, 2002)

Working hard for the money!
Some pics from a visit to the NY zoo. I'll call this, "A day in the life of Atta cephalotes ants".

- by Alan Sunjian (Fall 2002)

Attines in Cancun, Merida area of Mexico
i must have seemed like one odd character taking pics of the leaf cutter nests while other people walked around in the Zona Hotelera, but i tried to get as much time with these guys as possible.

- by Alan Sunjian (December 2001)

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