Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Day on BCI - the guided hike

"A Walk on BCI"


  1. Hello scientists!
    I just watched the movie you made about the leaf cutter ants, and I was wondering, do they use the leaves for construction or do they eat them?
    Adios amigas,

  2. Hi again Alanna!
    Great question!
    Leaf-cutter ants are pretty amazing. They (including 41 species within 2 genera) are essentially farmers! They cut the leaves (or flowers in the case of the clip with the purple petals) and carry them into their nest underground. There are other ants there who set them in rows and tend to them. They use the leaf pieces to grow a special fungus - which is what they actually eat. The ants and the fungus have what is called a mutualistic relationship, which means that they help each other survive. The fungus needs the ants to bring them the leaves so that they can grow, and the ants need to fungus to eat so that they can grow! One cannot live with out the other. There is a lot more to learn about these amazing ants - I would be happy to explore more with you even after I get back to Milwaukee!

    Everytime Ms. Thome and I see leaf-cutter ants we HAVE to stop and watch them work - they are amazing!

    Ciao amigita,