Invertebrate enemies and nest associates of the leaf-cutting ant Atta texana (Buckley) (Formicudae, Attini)
The complex nests of leaf-cutting ants (Formicidae; Attini) provide rich habitats for ant associates. These mounds consist of interconnected subterranean cavities that average 0.002 m3 in volume (Waler et al. 1938) and extend to depths of 7 m (Moser 1963). Many cavities contain fungus gardens, cultivated on live plant material, frass and debris. Nests of some specis include "detritus" chambers filled with discarded fungal garden, exhausted substrate and dead ants. Numberous invertebrate and vertebrate species associate with the ants, their fungus gardens or their detritus (Walter et al. 1938; Moster 1963; Weber 1972; Moser 1983), but little is known about their life cycles or their relationships with the ants. In this paper we review past literature and present observations on Atta texana parasites and nest associates in Texas and Louisiana (Table 1).