Home ---> Notes ---> article

(en español)

Keying Atta spp using smell

- by Alex Wild (Myrmecos1) In AntFarm Board

Where I was living in Paraguay, we had two common Atta species, A. sexdens and A. laevigata. Without major workers, these two species can be difficult to tell apart, except by smell. When crushed, Atta sexdens gives off a very strong lemon odor. So whenever I encountered a trail of Atta, I would squish one of the workers to identify the species.

My relationship with Atta was love/hate. They are really interesting animals, but they would also do things like carry off my entire vegetable garden overnight, and since I was living in a rural area where I could not buy vegetables, the ants drove me absolutely batty. There is nothing like working for months on a garden to have it destroyed in the matter of a few hours.

Interestingly, the ants seem to prefer plants of non-American origin. They loved carrots (European), and citrus (Asian), but avoided pepper and tomato.

Return to previous page

Web Site Author: A. Sunjian
Site Created 2003.10.11
Site Dedication