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Leaf cutter ants eating a moth?

leaf cutter ants atta atta mexicana strange questions

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9 replies to this topic

#1 Offline AntsTopia - Posted February 1 2024 - 3:59 PM

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HI guys! Its been quite a while since I have posted here and plan on updating my Atta Mexicana journal tomorrow. My colony has been getting quite big and they cut leaves every day  so naturally I have a separate feeding area for them. The feeding area got quite damp since I don't want the leaves or flowers to get dry. However it got to the point where I couldn't see inside because of the condensation. So I put some fluon on the lid and took the lid off so it could air out. I always have the light on over their feeding area to simulate day and night since I don't want the colony getting too big too fast. Unfortunately, some of the Wax Worms for my bearded dragon escaped and pupated into moths. Apparently a moth flew inside the foraging area trying to get to the light. At this point I wasn't there. All I saw was them dragging a moth through the tubes when I was there. The moth was giving them a hard time but eventually they did kill it. I was expecting them to drag the moth to the garbage bin but no. They dragged the moth to the fungus chamber where they chopped it up to pieces and the workers and soldiers were consuming it. I'm surprised and not so surprised at the same time. I do see them cannibalize the brood now and then. I would like to hear thoughts on this matter. 

 

Thanks for reading!


Keeper of no ants currently. Recently moved out of a state. Don’t worry I’ll me back in no time with hundreds of colonies. I hope.  :*(


#2 Offline JesseTheAntKid - Posted February 1 2024 - 4:26 PM

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Maybe they thought it was a leaf? Also, this is scary.


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Currently keeping: Pheidole obscurithorax (FINALLY I CAN STUDY THEM AND HAVE THEIR COOL MAJORS  B)), Tetramorium bicarinatum, Solenopsis spp. (probably xyloni, the queens are tiny hehe)

Wanting: Atta texana, Camponotus planatus (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HOOK ME UP WITH ATTA)

Previously kept: Monomorium minimum, Pheidole dentata

 

"ATTAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!" -Me

"AAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" -Even more me

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"- Me personified


#3 Offline Artisan_Ants - Posted February 1 2024 - 4:47 PM

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Well, all ants should have some source of protein right? Or their larvae are very likely to not grow. And (depending on the type of fungus) it produces a special kind of protein for the workers, and their larvae to eat and grow. But the fact that they consumed a moth, which has completely different protein, is very odd.
Wow, according to some studies, it seems like A. cephalotes occasionally go for insects; and A. cephalotes (along with practically every other species in the genus Atta) are a phylogenic version of A. mexicana. Meaning that, the gene of this behavior has likely passed on (though it really just matters on what the ants themselves do) from A. mexicana. Just a suggestion of what might have happened.

Edited by Artisan_Ants, February 1 2024 - 5:26 PM.

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#4 Offline AntsTopia - Posted February 1 2024 - 5:06 PM

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Maybe they thought it was a leaf? Also, this is scary.

No, the way they were attacking the moth was similar to a Solenopsis colony or a Tetramorium colony. It was covered in ants when I saw the commotion. They don't do that do leaves. 


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Keeper of no ants currently. Recently moved out of a state. Don’t worry I’ll me back in no time with hundreds of colonies. I hope.  :*(


#5 Offline AntsTopia - Posted February 1 2024 - 6:31 PM

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Well, all ants should have some source of protein right? Or their larvae are very likely to not grow. And (depending on the type of fungus) it produces a special kind of protein for the workers, and their larvae to eat and grow. But the fact that they consumed a moth, which has completely different protein, is very odd.
Wow, according to some studies, it seems like A. cephalotes occasionally go for insects; and A. cephalotes (along with practically every other species in the genus Atta) are a phylogenic version of A. mexicana. Meaning that, the gene of this behavior has likely passed on (though it really just matters on what the ants themselves do) from A. mexicana. Just a suggestion of what might have happened.

That's interesting. Maybe if someone had a lot of Atta Mexicana colonies they could try to take the fungus out and only provide sweets and insects. The workers would be fine but apparently the larva solely depend on the fungus for nutrition. Then again there's no point in having leaf cutter ants if they don't cut leaves. All in all, your suggestion seems to be the answer. 


Edited by AntsTopia, February 1 2024 - 6:32 PM.

  • Artisan_Ants likes this

Keeper of no ants currently. Recently moved out of a state. Don’t worry I’ll me back in no time with hundreds of colonies. I hope.  :*(


#6 Offline ZATrippit - Posted February 2 2024 - 3:30 PM

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Ants aren't discriminatory when it comes to protein, unless it's toxic.
FROM NEW ZEALAND YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!!Species I have:3x Iridomyrmex undescribed2x Ochetellus glaberFree Queen Ants- 100% Legit (not a scam):<p>https://blogs.mtdv.m...free-queen-ants

#7 Offline JesseTheAntKid - Posted February 2 2024 - 6:59 PM

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Maybe they thought it was a leaf? Also, this is scary.

No, the way they were attacking the moth was similar to a Solenopsis colony or a Tetramorium colony. It was covered in ants when I saw the commotion. They don't do that do leaves. 

 

Well now I'm very scared.


  • AntsTopia likes this

Currently keeping: Pheidole obscurithorax (FINALLY I CAN STUDY THEM AND HAVE THEIR COOL MAJORS  B)), Tetramorium bicarinatum, Solenopsis spp. (probably xyloni, the queens are tiny hehe)

Wanting: Atta texana, Camponotus planatus (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HOOK ME UP WITH ATTA)

Previously kept: Monomorium minimum, Pheidole dentata

 

"ATTAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!" -Me

"AAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" -Even more me

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"- Me personified


#8 Offline AntsTopia - Posted February 3 2024 - 12:26 PM

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Ants aren't discriminatory when it comes to protein, unless it's toxic.


Yes, but leaf cutting ants have been around for thousands of years or more eating fungus as their main source protein. I also tried giving them another moth and to my suprise they ate it and discarded the exoskeleton. If I am able to give them a steady source of protein maybe they can leave the fungus alone by not eating it as much and only serving it to the larva and the queen.
  • Artisan_Ants likes this

Keeper of no ants currently. Recently moved out of a state. Don’t worry I’ll me back in no time with hundreds of colonies. I hope.  :*(


#9 Offline cutchins - Posted February 11 2024 - 7:59 AM

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Ants aren't discriminatory when it comes to protein, unless it's toxic.


Yes, but leaf cutting ants have been around for thousands of years or more eating fungus as their main source protein. I also tried giving them another moth and to my suprise they ate it and discarded the exoskeleton. If I am able to give them a steady source of protein maybe they can leave the fungus alone by not eating it as much and only serving it to the larva and the queen.

 

 

Honestly, this is interesting as hell. I wonder how consistently feeding them in this way would affect the growth and behavior of the colony. Would be cool if this type of thing had been tried and documented...


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#10 Offline JesseTheAntKid - Posted February 11 2024 - 8:31 PM

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Ants aren't discriminatory when it comes to protein, unless it's toxic.


Yes, but leaf cutting ants have been around for thousands of years or more eating fungus as their main source protein. I also tried giving them another moth and to my suprise they ate it and discarded the exoskeleton. If I am able to give them a steady source of protein maybe they can leave the fungus alone by not eating it as much and only serving it to the larva and the queen.

 

Time to start packing my stuff for the inevitable time when I must retreat to the bunker and escape the hordes of ravenous leafcutter ants that are poised for world domination.


  • cutchins likes this

Currently keeping: Pheidole obscurithorax (FINALLY I CAN STUDY THEM AND HAVE THEIR COOL MAJORS  B)), Tetramorium bicarinatum, Solenopsis spp. (probably xyloni, the queens are tiny hehe)

Wanting: Atta texana, Camponotus planatus (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HOOK ME UP WITH ATTA)

Previously kept: Monomorium minimum, Pheidole dentata

 

"ATTAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!" -Me

"AAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" -Even more me

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"- Me personified






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: leaf cutter ants, atta, atta mexicana, strange, questions

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