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(en español)

These art images are copyright to their authors. You may not use them without permission from the respective owners. Please contact myself or the authors (via their websites) if you need any assistance.

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The moment I saw this artist's work on the web I was absolutely floored. Fantastic artwork about nature in addition to more mundane subjects. The use of colors is such that the overall feeling is one of joyful whimsy, and the lines are very vibrant.

Although not as elaborate as some of his other works, Paul Mirocha's depiction of an Atta mexicana forager and her two little hitchhikers is beautiful in a simple, unassuming way. I can tell you that I gasped when first seeing it. Although the anatomical details of the ants are surprisingly accurate, it is not this which engenders a strong emotional response from people. By embedding into the details his own emotional reaction to the leafcutters at Organ Pipe National Monument in Arizona, the author uplifts the work beyond any mere photograph.

I strongly recommend viewing Paul Mirocha's work at paulmirocha.com

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MURAYAMA Hashime artwork of leafcutter ants.

This fine painting of leaf-cutting ants was done by MURAYAMA Hashime for an article devoted entirely to ants in the National Geographic magazine dated August 1934, pp. 171-192. The awkward looking stance of the ants probably signifies that the artist was working from dead specimens when he made this artwork.

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Mary Helsaple artwork of leafcutting ants. Artist Mary Helsaple is a realistic and narrative painter whose goal is to tell a story that connects people to nature. Her collections of images and visual relationships are statements about who we are as a society, and how connected or disconnected we are with the natural world. She says about this richly colored painting:

Survival is no picnic in the rainforest. From the largest to the smallest creature, labor and dedication ensures that existence continues. This painting of South American leaf cutter ants brings the question of human contribution into focus. Normally, Leaf cutter ants diligently collect small bits of leaf matter to cultivate their underground gardens for their food supply. In this way, ants recycle forest debris that is then available for plants to use. I witnessed them carrying away our plastic bags. Can we find a way to have our plastic bags and non-recyclable trash serve more purposes than just our own?

Fine Art Giclee prints, signed and numbered by the artist are available, on 100% Watercolor paper 28" X 32" for $400 unframed, and can be purchased directly from the artist at Mary (at) helsaple.com. Visit her website at helsaple.com

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LIEBIG trading card of leafcutter ants.

LIEBIG trading card of leafcutter ants.
This scan contributed by Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen shows an absolutely beautiful print of leafcutters from a LIEBIG trading card dating from before WWII. The LIEBIG Meat Extract Company was founded in 1868 and produced more than 2000 trading card sets until 1975. Many of the cards are rare and very sought-after by collectors worldwide. The cards depicted various scenes: Flora & Fauna, history, science, inventions and visions of life around 1900.

The back of the card contains the following (translated from the French):

5. The Leaf-Cutting Ants

And here , for the sake of this little plate , a very strange history : There are ants , from the genus Atta , that cultivate mushrooms in Brazil . But for establishing a useful culture , an adequate substrate is needed . Here follows how this is done . Thousands of ants go to and on a tree and cut out circular fragments , a few millimeters in diameter , from the leaves . In columns , the ants bring this plant material to their home . This shows our little plate . Once in their nest , an other group of these animals reduce this material in a fine granular mass and sculpture the dish on which they cultivate the fungus from which all the inhabitants eat . When the nest is , in one way or another , disturbed , the workers keep themselves as much occupied with the restoration of the losses from the fungus-culture as with saving the eggs and larvae . – Very typical detail : At the moment that a female goes to start a new nest , she doesn’t forget to take with her , between her mandibles , a little bit of the preferred fungus , to try to grow it again in the new nest . – And do you know how some Acacias in Brazil defend themselves against the leaf cutters? They keep body-guards , made up of an other species of ants that hunts the Atta cutters . As a reward the Acacia offers his defenders shelter and food : Great hollow spines as a house and honey as food .



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Web Site Author: A. Sunjian
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