Trails of the leafcutters

  • Authors: Moser, John C.
  • Publication Year: 1967
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: The Journal of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. LXXXVI(1): 33-37


The trails of leaf-cutting ants are among the most conspicuous and long-lived of all ant roadways. In tropical America, where such ants are abundant, paths leading from underground nests are often a foot wide and extended for 100 yards or more to trees or other plants whose leaves the ants gather. The ants commonly carry their forage above their heads, and when the trails are in full use, parades of busy worker ants resemble running streams of chlorophyll. The ants form permanent colonies underground where they cultivate extensive fungus gardens (Natural History, January, 1962). They use their trails constantly, for months at a time, and transport hundreds of pounds of green vegetation to their subterranean stores, thereby providing the "soil" to feed the fungus, which, in turn, feeds the ants.

  • Citation: Moser, John C. 1967. Trails of the leafcutters. The Journal of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. LXXXVI(1): 33-37
  • Posted Date: October 22, 2008
  • Modified Date: October 29, 2008
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