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 Texas leafcutter ant (Atta texana)

Texas leafcutter ant | Atta texana photo
Some Texas leafcutter ants on Catalpa tree
Photograph by Wild Bill at the English language Wikipedia. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)




Texas leafcutter ant | Atta texana photo
Profile view of ant Atta texana
Photograph by April Nobile AntWeb.org / CC-BY-SA-3.0.  (view image details)

Texas leafcutter ant | Atta texana photo
Dorsal view of ant Atta texana
Photograph by AntWeb.org / CC-BY-SA-3.0.  (view image details)

Texas leafcutter ant | Atta texana photo
Head view of ant Atta texana
Photograph by AntWeb.org / CC-BY-SA-3.0.  (view image details)





TEXAS LEAFCUTTER ANT FACTS
Description
Texas leafcutter ant is a major insect pest of ornamental plants and agricultural plants, and can rapidly defoliate trees. The ant is reddish brown or dark brown in color with a narrow waist and workers have three pairs of spines on the back of the middle segment. Atta species harvest leaves of plants which are brought into the nest and culltivated to grow fungus to feed the colony. There are several castes of workers with different roles which include tending the fungus, nursing the larvae and collecting the leaves.

Other Names
Parasol ant, Town ant

Size
workers range in size from 3mm to 14m. The queen can grow to 18mm long.

Environment
It prefers cleared forests, forest regrowth and farmland. It builds large underground nests in sandy soil or loam, and tunnels can be as deep as six metres.

Food
feeds on fungus from harvested leaves

Breeding
Each colony has several queen ants which lays the eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae which are like small grubs which pupate and emerge as adults. When a queen departs the nest to start a new colony she takes some of the fungus in her mouth to begin the new fungus farm. The breeding season is from April to June.

Range
Atta texana is found in Texas, Louisianan and the northern parts of Mexico.

Classification
Class:Insecta
Order:Hymenoptera
Family:Formicidae
Genus:Atta
Species:texana
Common Name:Texas leafcutter ant


Relatives in same Genus
  Forest bachac (A. cephalotes)







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