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"Working hard for the money!" A day at the NY Zoo with an Atta cephalotes colony

- by A. Sunjian

(en español)

Some pics from a visit to the NY zoo. I'll call this, "A day in the life of Atta ants".

"She works hard for the money!"
She works hard all day, guarding the nest against those pesky, nasty army ants.

"Striking a brave pose"
Foragers cooperate to bring in a recalcitrant leaf fragment. Doesn't this remind you of that sculpture from the Battle of Iwo Jima?

A trio of leaf-carrying workers go past an ant trying to move a very large twig.

"Out of the way!"
Fierce soldiers congregate amidst a sea of smaller comrades, with green leaf fragments being passed along the traffic.

"Bartender, pass the lettuce please!"
Soldiers lounge around while the traffic flows around them. After a day squashing bothersome invaders, it just helps to have some suds, ya know?

Here's a pic of part of the setup

the monitors above

Tons of people watching the ants

And btw, for those wondering about the ID as Atta cephalotes...here's the fuzzy hairdo on the soldiers

"I've fallen and I can't get up!"

The hazards of a caged existence...it looks like this soldier got wedged between the glass pane and the nest and got trapped.

"Move along now!"

Heavy traffic on the way home with dinner. Notice the piles of forage that coat the upper surface of the nest mound. Earlier myrmecologists thought the ants were building a roof on top of the nest to shade them from the heat.

"Are you in there?"

A fungus garden. Note the somewhat pale colored soldier...I'm assuming they are paler looking because they are younger individuals. These newly eclosed adult ants tend to hang around the fungus gardens.

"Olympic torch"

This ant struggled for maybe 20 minutes trying to get a good hold on this REALLY bulky and large piece of vegetation. The ant circled around the fallen piece once in a while, tried again, failed, then circled around again. Finally, it managed to get a good balanced grip on it.

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Web Site Author: A. Sunjian
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