Quality Control Ant-Style

Have you ever seen leafcutter ants at work? On our JBL expeditions the little master builders literally run into us all the time.

But it was only after an indigenous guide had drawn our attention to a special peculiarity, that we finally noticed it too: The ants carry pieces of leaves, which they cut out from whole leaves with their mouths, over long distances to their nest where they breed a fungus which uses these leaf pieces as food. So far, so good. But after every few ants there was a little second ant hanging at this leaf piece. Why?

Our indigenous guide explained that the small ant is checking the quality of the leaf piece. If it is not okay, it could become a danger for the fungi in the nest (e.g. being mouldy or having plant lice) and is discarded. And indeed, at the entrance to the subterranean nest there are endless discarded pieces of leaves lying around. That’s what I call tremendous quality control!

© 04.03.2018
Heiko Blessin
Heiko Blessin
Dipl.-Biologe

Tauchen, Fotografie, Aquaristik, Haie, Motorrad

Comments

A word about cookies before we continue

The JBL Homepage also uses several types of cookies to provide you with full functionality and many services: We require technical and functional cookies to ensure that everything works when you visit this website. We also use cookies for marketing purposes. This ensures that we recognise you when you visit our extensive site again, that we can measure the success of our campaigns and that the personalisation cookies allow us to address you individually and directly, adapted to your needs - even outside our website. You can determine at any time - even at a later date - which cookies you allow and which you do not allow (more on this under "Change settings").

Are you over 16 years old? Then confirm the use of all cookies with "Noticed" and you are ready to go.

Choose your cookie settings

Technical and functional cookies, so that everything works when you visit our website.
Marketing cookies, so that we recognize you on our pages and can measure the success of our campaigns.