We went on a hike to La Pita waterfall today and just across a creek crossing ran into a worker line of leaf-cutter ants, marching across the trail balancing a piece of leaf on their backs.
Single file, they can carry 50x their body weight on their backs, and will searcho out just the right type of plant hundreds of meters from their nest ... which is a huge expanse when you're so tiny.
They actually farm the leaves to grow a particular fungus they feed on. It's the only place in the world this fungus is found — in a leaf-cutter ant colony.
So says the bio professor, who was an added bonus to have the trip. I learned a lot.
I love leaf-cutters. I remember walking in the Peruvian Amazon and stopping to let their army go by undisturbed. They have a complex social structure of queen, soldiers and workers, and they all have their own roles.