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These ants can carry up to six times their weight, making them the strongest creatures on the planet. Here they carry leaf matter down and into their colony. Naturalist Jim Conrad, who works in the Yucatan, tells us on his website "backyardnature.net" that "leafcutter ants normally work at night and they can defoliate an entire tree the size of a mature apple tree in one attack. An ant goes to a leaf and with its mandibles cuts out a leaf section -- or nips off a flower or other object of appropriate size -- then carries it back to its nest. At the nest the carried- back material is stored in subterranean chambers, where a special kind of fungus is allowed to grow on it. Ultimately the ants eat that fungus. The ants don't eat the material they carry back, just the fungus."  (Image Credit: Jim Spadaccini, Ideum)
These ants can carry up to six times their weight, making them the strongest creatures on the planet. Here they carry leaf matter down and into their colony. Naturalist Jim Conrad, who works in the Yucatan, tells us on his website "backyardnature.net" that "leafcutter ants normally work at night and they can defoliate an entire tree the size of a mature apple tree in one attack. An ant goes to a leaf and with its mandibles cuts out a leaf section -- or nips off a flower or other object of appropriate size -- then carries it back to its nest. At the nest the carried- back material is stored in subterranean chambers, where a special kind of fungus is allowed to grow on it. Ultimately the ants eat that fungus. The ants don't eat the material they carry back, just the fungus." (Image Credit: Jim Spadaccini, Ideum)