The Stratford Butterfly Farm is delighted to announce that it has not one, but two new Leafcutter Ant colonies, kindly donated from Butterfly World in St Albans. The ants have now settled into their new home in Arachnoland and Insect City and can be seen travelling backwards and forwards along ropes.
Atta cephalotes are originally from the rainforests of Trinidad. It is the larger colony and one of the biggest in the country. The colonies can contain millions of ants however the colony at Stratford contains hundreds of thousands and has plenty of room to grow.
Acromyrmex species is native to the rainforests of Central America. This is a smaller colony and will never contain as many ants as the Atta colony plus they can be less active.
Leafcutter Ants of both species are ruled by a single queen. Every single ant in the colony is a female. The ants all have roles, some tend eggs, others cut leaves, some remove rubbish and soldiers guard the colony. Leafcutter ants travel some distance to collect leaves to take back to the nest. They then chew it, spit it out and vomit on it to promote fungus growth. The fungus is what they eat. Leaf cutting termites and humans are the only other animals to grow their own food and as such Leafcutter ants are farmers.
For more information please visit the website at www.butterflyfarm.co.uk or telephone on 01789 299288.