Where Are the Ants Carrying All Those Leaves?

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Ants don’t eat leaves. They use them to grow white tufts of nutritious fungus to feed their offspring.

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Their success as farmers has made leafcutter ants into fungus tycoons, complete with their own underground cities and huge half-inch soldiers to patrol them.

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Though leafcutter ants drink the sap in leaves for energy, they don’t eat them. Instead, they use them to grow something else.The ants eat the fungus and feed it to their brood.

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If you bundled together all the ants in the world, there would be more of them than people.

They’re the dominant biomass, says Brian Fisher, chair of the Department of Entomology at the California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco. This is because all 30,000 species of ants are social. They have many ways of making a living.

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