Observation of leaf-cutting ants foraging on wild mushrooms


This study reports on the observation of an unusual behavior in leaf-cutting ants: foraging on wild mushrooms. A colony of Acromyrmex lundi in Buenos Aires (Argentina) was observed intensively harvesting basidiomes (mushroom fructifications) of wild Agrocybe fungus developing on a tree bark. Another colony maintained for a month in laboratory conditions also accepted Agrocybe mushroom and incorporated the cut bits into the fungus garden in the same way as they do with leaves. We recorded these events confident that they open a new perspective on the study of the feeding habits of leaf-cutting ants as well as on the relationship between their fungus garden and other organisms.

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The authors thank Prof. B. Hölldobler for his advice and suggestions. This work was supported by the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion (PICT 01319) and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research from Argentina.

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Correspondence to R. Josens.

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Video 1 (2′58″) (WMV 22280 kb)

Video 2 (3′27″). (WMV 39459 kb)

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Lechner, B.E., Josens, R. Observation of leaf-cutting ants foraging on wild mushrooms. Insect. Soc. 59, 285–288 (2012).

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  • Leaf-cutting ants
  • Foraging
  • Fungi
  • Acromyrmex
  • Wild mushrooms