Atta cephalotes: All aboard!

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Leafcutter hitchikers.

Atta cephalotes: All aboard!

Photo by John Longino
Website: Ants of Costa Rica

No less than five other ants have hitched a ride on this poor forager's leaf piece! As noted previously, there have been various interpretations made regarding the function of this behavior - or perhaps this behavior evolved to meet various functions! In this case, energy conservation might be the motive of the hitch-hiking ants. Instead of 6 ants trooping back to the nest, you get one forager expending energy for the other five. There is probably a paper measuring and comparing the energetics of such transportation, and if there isn't maybe someone should tackle this...

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