Articles, Blog

OMG! Leafcutter Ants WILL BLOW YOUR MIND | Thanksgiving Special – Part 1

August 13, 2019


theme song Greeting AC family. Welcome to another episode of the Ants Canada ant channel Last month, we Canadians celebrated our Canadian Thanksgiving with turkey and great meals with the family With next week being the fourth Thursday in November, the U.S. will celebrate American Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving holidays originated as a harvest festival celebrated by early U.S. settlers in celebration of a successful growing season. And so, to align with this theme of American Thanksgiving here at the Ants Canada ant channel, I wanted to feature two very special kinds of ants in a two part thanksgiving series. In this episode of the Ants Canada ant channel, I wanted to feature ants that happen to be very skilled farmers. So many of you have been requesting for me to do a video on these ants, And finally we will peek into the micro agricultural lives of leafcutter ants, whose fungus gardens are a sight to behold. Trust me guys, most people have no idea how cool these ants are. So keep watching until the end. And also to celebrate and give thanks to you guys, our amazing AC family, for the best year we’ve ever had, on this channel. We also will announce this weeks question of the week for our grand black friday give away. It’s our biggest give away of any AC question of the week yet! So much ant goodness ahead so stay tuned until the end for your chance to win. Here we go AC family! Time to put on your protective antimicrobial suits and delve with me into the lives of these amazing leafcutter ants. Here at the Ants Canada ant channel. The leafcutter ants are some of the coolest ants on the planet. and I think its safe to say that most ant hobbyist have dreamed to keep them me included. But I’ve never lived where they were native so I’ve never had the opportunity to keep them. There are 47 described species of leaf chewing ants, belonging to the two genera Atta and Acromyrmex. Now these ants you see here are called Desert Leafcutter Ants known scientifically as Acromyrmex versicolor. And some of you watching from the U.S. may be excited to know that they can be found in arid parts of America. This particular colony of Desert Leafcutter Ants belong to our GAN farmer in Los Angeles County, Drew, who has one of the most impressive collections of ants I have ever seen. Take a look at this ant cabinet that he has. Each one of those are ant colonies, and of various species. And its amazing to think that all of these colonies are from the state of California. So for those of you who don’t know about leafcutter ants, what these ants do is they cut leaves up, as their name suggest, or other plant parts, and they bring these pieces back to the nest where they chew them up further and use it to fertilize and cultivate a special fungus that they grow in their nest. The ants then eat this fungus. Pretty amazing, right? The ants dedicate their entire lives to making sure this fungus garden stays lively, continues to grow, and remains healthy, because if this fungus garden dies, the entire colony dies. Leafcutter ants have been roaming the earth for millions and millions of years. Check out this extinct species of leafcutter ant which happens to be related to our modern day leafcutter ants, fossilized in amber from 20 million years ago! So you see, ants have been farming millions of years before humans ever walked the earth. Alright, so are you guys ready to be mind blown? Check this! So the way the colonies of this species start is; the male and female elates of this species have their massive nuptial flights after the desert thunderstorms come and pass. They take to the air, mate profusely, then the males die, and the females break off their wings to start colonies of their own. They proceed to create a burrow where they establish their founding chamber Or their claustral cell Now get this, before they actually even leave the nest for nuptial flight, each one of these elate queens carry with her, a tiny fungal pellet in a special place in her mouth parts. This fungal pellet originated from the fungal gardens in her birth nest. And it would be the seed from which would grow the fungus garden that would feed her entire future colony, for the rest of her life. So in her new burrow, the queen alate expels this fungal pellet, cultivate it using her own feces and gets it to grow, until it becomes a sizable fungus garden. And thus, a leafcutter ant colony is born Isn’t that just mind blowing guys? Imagine growing up in a home where you and your whole family always had to eat food you guys grew yourselves. Food from a single crop and then one day having to leave your home with just a seed from that crop, tucked in your mouth, mating, and then spitting that seed out, and getting it to grow quickly enough so you and your babies could eat. Oh yeah, and growing it using your own feces? This is the miracle life-cycle of leafcutter ants. Isn’t that such an efficient lifestyle? I mean you guys grow your food, you eat the food, and then it comes out as droppings, which goes to feed the food that feeds you again which becomes droppings and it just keeps going over and over again in one huge cycle. It’s no wonder leafcutter ants and their evolutionary design has lasted millions of years. Now these ants are desert ants. Which is surprising because they grow lush underground fungus gardens from just kind of the scraps left over behind in the desert. Drew here, feeds these ants dried rose petals. Can you imagine that these ants use, essentially potpourri, to feed their fungus gardens? They’ll also use pieces of bark, little plant bits, dried leaves and little bits of twigs. These ants get all their nutrition from their fungus gardens they don’t need insects, they don’t need anything else, they just eat the fungus. Now are you ready to be mind blown even more? Okay guys, get this! So leafcutter ants have to deal with the same problems we have to deal with as humans growing a garden. These ants cultivate and take care of their underground gardens of fungus but there are fungus weeds, other parasitic fungus that eat the fungus that feeds the ants. And so like humans, you gotta get rid of these weeds. So these leafcutter ants have a special mechanism to get rid of their fungus weeds. On parts of their body, these ants have special bacteria that grow in huge colonies. That’s right, their bodies cultivate special bacteria. If you look at this picture you’ll see the patch right there, where the special bacteria grows. Now these special bacteria called Actinomyces, produce a special antibiotic which kills the fungus weeds. If you look at this picture of this ant, it really looks like it’s full of fuzz and fur but that’s actually strings of this antibiotic. So isn’t that crazy that these ants have evolved an anti-weeding system? And check out the symbiosis! The beauty of this entire set-up is that the leafcutter ants, the species of fungus that the ants eat, the fungus weeds, and the bacteria found on the body of the leafcutter ants are only found together in these leafcutter ant nests Nowhere else in the world. Isn’t that pretty crazy? All of these species evolved together to the point where they don’t exist without each other. And whats really cool too is that scientist are trying to better understand and study this bacteria that are found on these leafcutter ants to develop better antibiotics, because currently, a lot of people are allergic to some of the antibiotics that are available today like penicillin. Can you imagine if in the future we start using ant-antibiotics? Or just simply ANT-ibiotics Guys let’s copyright the name now © Copyright AC Family November 2016 Now if you’re planning to keep this species There are a few things you have to keep in mind First of all, in order to keep these, you have to be from the state of California, Arizona, or other arid states to which this species is native. There also is another leafcutter speices called Atta Texana found in Texas and surrounding states. And if you’re not in these areas, then legally, you’re not allowed to keep them Now the queen ant of these species can be found anywhere between July and September and sometimes in October Their nuptial flights happen after the desert thunderstorms It’s hard to miss the queens, look how large and beautiful they look I really love their color. Where they’re from, temperatures can reach 105 ° F during the day and 90 °F at night. The colonies are almost always found in desert washes. Which are kind of like dried up rivers in the desert and they are almost always found around large bushes or trees This species can be found in the Mojave Desert and the Sonoran Desert If you’re lucky enough to live more south like Mexico, and South America, then leafcutter ants are abundant. You can find Atta, and Acromyrmex. Now this Acromyrmex colony is housed in a home made setup of connected accrylic containers, with a hydro-stone plaster flooring. And the hydro-stone is hydrated from a well below and boy is it impressive! Now one of the key things when keeping this species is making sure their fungus remains alive I find a lot of people who keep leafcutter ants often struggle with keeping the fungus alive. It’s not so much the ants that are sensitive, it’s the fungus. And if the fungus dies, the ants die too. And every species of leafcutter ant has their favorite plant matter to which they add to the fungus. If I’m ever lucky enough to live in an area where leafcutter ants are found, you better believe I’m going to be keeping a colony of them. But until then I’ll just watch this video over and over again. Just to admire them And as always, I’m going to add a hidden cookie here So you guys can just watch more footage of these leafcutter ants. I would like to thank Drew from L.A. for allowing us to film his leafcutter ants. And stay tuned for part two of this Thanksgiving series next week, where we look at the amazing lives of Harvester Ants Thank you AC family for joining us and by the time you join us next week, U.S. Thanksgiving would have passed so I just want to say, have a Happy Thanksgiving and wait for part two, next Saturday! It’s Ant Love forever! And of course we can’t end this video without the AC question of the week. Last week we asked, how many checkpoints does a yellow crazy ant colony have before entering the nest? Congratulations to TheHardest who correctly answered 2. Congratulations TheHardest! You just won yourself a $20 giftcard to our shop! And finally here we are, our AC grand black Friday give away And for this giveaway, we ask, “What is the name of the bacteria found on the bodies of these leaf-cuter ants?” Leave your answer in the comment section and you can win a $500 gift card to our shop. Yes that’s right, AC fam. $500 USD to buy anything from AntsCanada.com Good luck Ant Lovers! Tune in next week for the winner! And one last time, have a happy Thanksgiving for all of our American followers. I just wanted to take this opportunity to also thank Alex Wild, my very good friend who happens to be a myrmecologist and taxonomist and nature photographer. He was kind enough to let us use his stunning photographs for this channel His photos are amazing so be sure to visit his site at Alexanderwild.com and order a few ant prints.

100 Comments

  • Reply AntsCanada November 20, 2016 at 1:36 am

    As an addition to this video, for those in Southeastern USA you can also find Trychomyrmex spp which are also fungus growers, and for those from Southern USA there is also the tiny Cyphomyrmex which are yeast-growers which collect insect frass (droppings) to farm their food! Good luck! Ant love forever!

  • Reply Richard Aponte February 19, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Ant as always.. see you soon.

  • Reply nick the thick February 25, 2018 at 5:44 am

    This is the first ants canada video i have ever seen

  • Reply francisco franklin February 28, 2018 at 2:39 am

    what was your first ant colony? what kind of ants before all the other ants did you start with?

  • Reply Penguin and Duckie dead?! February 28, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Amazing ants

  • Reply Penguin and Duckie dead?! February 28, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    🐜

  • Reply Ethan Alexander BAILEY March 1, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Your channel is awesome AntsCanada! How do you catch ant queens?

  • Reply Facts Over Feelings March 7, 2018 at 2:46 am

    Would it be morally/ecologically/legally ok to catch one of these queens from Southern California and keep them in Central California? It sounds like they require arid conditions, which do not exist near where I'll be moving to, so I doubt they could survive if they did escape, which won't happen.
    As far as I know it's only illegal to export ants across state lines, and further limitations on quarantined invasive species, but that's all I know. As long as I gave them the proper living conditions, I don't see anything wrong with that. Thoughts?

  • Reply Robotic Egg March 9, 2018 at 10:15 am

    2:50 Lol the spider is trying to sneak into the ant colony πŸ˜‚

  • Reply Aubur Wright March 10, 2018 at 12:05 am

    first of all I want to say that I love and Canada

  • Reply SCRT _legend March 13, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I wonder if these ants eat the fungus all there lives and not get bored of the food it must be Very nice I wonder how it taste like

  • Reply Firekit Gaming March 23, 2018 at 5:47 am

    I live in philipines cebu city

  • Reply Madison Lehmann March 23, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    I've seen a video of a guy who got bitten by a leafcutter ant solider and his finger was bleeding

  • Reply Libby Sparks March 28, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    When I was really young, I played a reader rabbit game where as a small part of it they let you play as a leaf cutter ant and you learned all about them and cut out some leaf, brought it to the ant hill, and grow the garden. It was my favorite mini game

  • Reply Kater Bug April 3, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    If your looking for ants outside, how do you get the queen out?

  • Reply Mars April 8, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    I had a leaf cutter ant colony but it died

  • Reply Kevin Dad April 19, 2018 at 2:03 am

    >lucky
    >living in mexico or south america
    pick one lmfao

  • Reply Rice MAn April 21, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    aww i wish you can get it

  • Reply Javier Segovia April 23, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Actinomyces spp

  • Reply Otto von Bismarck May 4, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Those are my favorites ❀

  • Reply roblox and Minecraft gamer May 6, 2018 at 8:17 am

    I have Leaf cutter ants!!!

  • Reply JM Williams May 8, 2018 at 4:59 am

    The question is Antibiotic

  • Reply leafly May 9, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    So um just thought I should say an ad for ant killer played in the middle of this video.

  • Reply Ethan and Arnold May 15, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    The answer to the black Friday giveaway is Acrinomyces

  • Reply NOT CLICKBAIT May 24, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    I used to live in Arizona without knowing they lived there! I did find many harvester ants though.

  • Reply DarkDrawingle JAM13 May 26, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    ANTSCANADA I LOVE YOU AND YOUR CHANNEL AND YOUR PET ANTS! Let the kingdom of ants grow! (:

  • Reply Kai Alibocus May 30, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Those ants are common in my country

  • Reply mr chef May 31, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    What about Colorado?

  • Reply catherine Evina June 1, 2018 at 7:51 am

    I have leafcutter here in philipines

  • Reply Jayk Jarcia June 1, 2018 at 11:47 am

    😁😁😁😁😁😁

  • Reply Negan June 1, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    What about nevada. I live in nevada. You said california and Arizona.

  • Reply Jscthegamer June 2, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    These would be fun to keep I see how I could use a Omni nest

  • Reply manish.g Gowda June 5, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Actinomyces

  • Reply James Likes Memes June 6, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Oh my god… did anybody notice that spider on the leaf that the ant was carrying at 2:50?

  • Reply Donna Ivey June 7, 2018 at 3:38 am

    Do you have leaf cutter ants? 🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜🐜

  • Reply Maria Cangas June 9, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    i hay mai red ant mow
    the queen has a so meni
    wercker and soldere

  • Reply Maria Cangas June 9, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    but stell smoll collony
    i well putt
    a new acuaryium

  • Reply Simple Bread June 13, 2018 at 10:51 am

    I have a question, why do you say Ant lover forever when there’s always a add. That Offers ant killing?

  • Reply Arckhangel June 15, 2018 at 2:21 am

    How can you tell if an ant is the one that cuts leaves? Why do I have a big dark red ant and the black back and legs grendes is an atta or another type of species?

  • Reply tyreese llewellyn June 20, 2018 at 1:05 am

    They live in the Caribbean and their nuptial flight takes place between June to september

  • Reply ChristoMan June 20, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    I want to know what is the material that he use to keep the humidity on the nest plis

  • Reply Jergens June 22, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    I like the Kerbal Space Program music

  • Reply Maya Abueg June 27, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    But I see leafcutters all the time in costa rica

  • Reply Action Jackson July 2, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Crazy Nature

  • Reply Chicken Nuggets July 5, 2018 at 5:07 am

    Praise Jesus Christ, He is the Lord, the Creator of the universe. Jesus Christ is the only way to The Father which is in heaven. Obey the Lord's commandments and stop sinning. Repent of your sins and overcome every sinful addiction. God hates sin. For the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Trust in God and walk in obedience with the Him, time is running out. Staying in your sin will take you to hell, but Jesus Christ can save you. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins so we have eternal life with Him in heaven. He rose from the dead, He is Living. Believe in God and keep His commandments. The Holy Spirit performs miracles in the present time, God is real. Have faith in Him. Talk with the Lord in prayer and praise Him. Read the KJV Bible so you can learn more about the Word. All glory and thanks goes to God. He loves us and we need to love Him. Stop sinning. Praise Jesus Christ. God bless you.

  • Reply Lulli Sulli July 7, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Actinomices spp.

  • Reply Dark Xerneas Openings July 11, 2018 at 11:29 am

    And then they all died.

  • Reply jmartines34 July 19, 2018 at 3:46 am

    do these ants live in new Mexico I what to strart ant ceeping I whont this ant speshes or pogonomyrmex rugosus

  • Reply J'zargo July 20, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Leafcutter ants have lots more casts, they have worker(female), gardener(female), drones(male), soldiers(drones), and Queen(female) and the soldiers are up to 300 times the size of the others

  • Reply SithGaming Robloxian Measure Man July 21, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    I live in Texas so I could catch a leafcutter ant but my parents might not let me because most of us don't like ants other than me and my sister

  • Reply Oleander Carbajal July 22, 2018 at 2:47 am

    Is it possible to keep these ants in idaho

  • Reply jaevon jackson July 24, 2018 at 5:15 am

    Thanks to this channel I learned so much about ants .

  • Reply Damien Ooi July 25, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    What soundtrack did you use

  • Reply Random shit July 29, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Did you know some species of leaf cutter ants can treat there fungi when is sick by using certain flowers and plants,

  • Reply KenDoesThings July 30, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    @antscanada since you love ants and know soooo much… why not try a game that emphasizes on ants and their strength. its called Empires of The Undergrowth(EOTU)

  • Reply Mr. ʎuuǝʞ August 4, 2018 at 8:24 am

    AntsCanada help me get a Texana queen!

  • Reply Tan KC August 24, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Is there leafcutter ant in malaysia

  • Reply Mary Pallera September 22, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    I subscribed and liked the video😺

  • Reply Mary Pallera September 22, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    And turned on nodifications

  • Reply Keshawn Santana September 26, 2018 at 7:55 am

    The fungus looks like weed nugs

  • Reply party4lifedude September 26, 2018 at 8:20 am

    I live in Houston Texas. I could raise an Atta Texana colony for you if you could manage to procure one for me. haha. Maybe not. that would put me under too much pressure.

  • Reply ?????? October 9, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    I live in California

  • Reply Nature Around us October 14, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Do you like antman

  • Reply lalybum October 18, 2018 at 9:54 am

    They are pretty common where I live, people normally even eat them LUL

  • Reply iloveowls90 October 22, 2018 at 3:43 am

    Lol Nice pun

  • Reply GAB'S ANT CHANNEL November 3, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Antifungal

  • Reply Island Princess November 5, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Copyright ac family November 2016

  • Reply PhΓΊ Khang LΓͺ November 13, 2018 at 3:00 am

    Actinomyces is the the name

  • Reply Evie McQuerrey November 18, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Yer so smart

  • Reply Doug Mcilvenny November 23, 2018 at 2:07 am

    Biomass is the name

  • Reply Doug Mcilvenny November 23, 2018 at 2:09 am

    Or acitomyes

  • Reply Ye Emanuele Yang December 18, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    the answer to the question: Actinomyces spp.

  • Reply Falcons Games December 31, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Actinomices

  • Reply StupidBoy January 5, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Can I have leafcutter Ants and the same nest like yours 😊😊I also commented some of your video.

  • Reply StupidBoy January 6, 2019 at 2:00 am

    Can I have the leafcutter Ants for free.I live in Malaysia.KL.Kuala Lumpur.Taman Cheras.Lorong Bijan .No.12

  • Reply Snake King January 11, 2019 at 3:43 am

    Can you try dinosaur ant

  • Reply marche 434 January 17, 2019 at 12:15 am

    Here in ecuador you find this ants like crazy, they are everywhere, and after a storm you find more queens than workers

  • Reply MinecraftAnimator 329 January 23, 2019 at 4:59 am

    I live in California , can you tell me how to start your own leaf cutter ant colliny

  • Reply Phoebe Rees-sutton February 1, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Scientists should try using the ants for pesticides

  • Reply Talent Factor Global February 2, 2019 at 4:36 am

    Take a shot everytime he says 'ants'.

  • Reply Jorge Garcia February 3, 2019 at 5:23 am

    Woohoo, I can keep Desert Leaf-Cutter ants since i'm from Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Reply bentu2ila February 11, 2019 at 8:35 am

    How does the fungus eat

  • Reply Deadpool February 22, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Clears Throat

    OH CANADA

  • Reply frox3nxxintime March 14, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    If you learn then I’m gonna be pissed off

  • Reply Hajime Onodera March 19, 2019 at 3:49 am

    The special bacteria is Actinomyces.

  • Reply Lunala Mations April 5, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Kinda like a huge ant symbiosis family. AAAAWWWWWWWWWWWW

  • Reply Ant Love Forever April 15, 2019 at 3:57 am

    Yay, you finally got a colony of leafcutter ants

  • Reply Jiffer Quijano April 25, 2019 at 6:58 am

    😭😭😭😭😭😭😭minat hav qnant

  • Reply Gabriel TV April 30, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    ants Canada western harvester ant keep them

  • Reply Not Important May 28, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    Middle of night, school tomorrow, test tomorrow, Recommended list: Ant'sCanda 'OMG! Leafcutter ants WILL BLOW YOUR MIND l Thanksgiving Special – Part 1' Me: "WHO NEEDS SLEEP?!?!"

  • Reply LegendaryRalts June 3, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    I saw I leaf cutter ant colony once. They were so cool

  • Reply Jodi Astorino June 12, 2019 at 2:27 am

    the bacteria is called Actinomyces

  • Reply Shell June 14, 2019 at 3:11 am

    "its the dream of every antkeeper keep them". Dude i have them in my playground

  • Reply becksta29 June 14, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    I live in Aus, damn I wish we could have them kind of ants here too. I think they are my new fave ant 🐜 species πŸ’™

  • Reply Henrik Petersen July 8, 2019 at 11:21 am

    make a vidio of the vampier ants again
    plz

  • Reply Ju Jue July 25, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    IT is ant ibiotics

  • Reply κΉ€μ„±λΉˆ July 28, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Your channel is awesome!!!

  • Reply Epic Gamer August 3, 2019 at 1:09 am

    Actinomyces

  • Reply Tao Song August 4, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    so youre telling me that massive ant i moved away from (looked a bit like a fire ant so i didn't take my chances) was a leafcutter ant queen.

  • Reply Arvind D. August 12, 2019 at 10:27 am

    I appreciate the fact that you acknowledged evolution and not censoring it to avoid crusades and jihads

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