● Estero del Yugo, Mazatlán, Mexico [el. approx. sea level] view location in Google Maps »
● 01/28/12 11:45AM sunny, air temp: 24°C / 75°F
[IMAGE 2 of 2] An Atta mexicana nest/colony can have dozens of entrances. Some tunnels can run underground for 60 m / 67 yards or more, and emerge close to a reliable source of leaves. Multiple entrances have also been shown to provide ventilation for the sometimes enormous underground nests. Especially in younger, rapidly growing colonies, new subterranean galleries and tunnels are constantly being added, and expanded. The excavated soil from all of this digging is brought to the surface and dumped - resulting in volcano-like craters up to approx. 30 cm / 1 ft in height, with entrance holes in their centers (older colonies that are not expanding may show little to none of the these external surface craters - their entrance holes being unadorned, and sometimes difficult to spot). Most of these soil-excavating duties appear to be carried out by the smaller media, and minor workers. Note: in addition to excavated soil, Atta mexicana (and some other Atta species) also bring to the surface and dump the organic refuse from their underground fungus-garden chambers. [scroll down for additional notes/references]
·Hölldobler, B. & E.O. Wilson. 1990. The Ants. Cambridge, MA, Belknap/Harvard Press·Hölldobler, B. & E.O. Wilson. 2011. The Leafcutter Ants; Civilization by Instinct. W.W. Norton & Company, New York & London·Mintzer, A.C. Changes Over 20 Years in Populations of the Mexican Leafcutting Ant, Atta mexicana, at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona. National Park Service and Western National Parks Association
·Mintzer, A.C. 1979. Foraging Activity of the Mexican Leafcutting Ant Atta mexicana (F. Smith), in a Sonoran Desert Habitat (Hymonoptera, Formicidae). Insectes Sociaux, Paris, Volume 26, No. 4, pp. 364-372 - Pogolumina - Pogonomyrmex Harvester Ants of North America
Images of Atta mexicana leaf-cutting ants in Mazatlán, Mexico. You may need to scroll down PAST BOTTOM OF PAGE for complete image description, and CLICK large image to make it even LARGER...
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