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The atta mushroom ants


, : The atta mushroom ants. Entomologiste (Paris) 34(6): 221-231

Atta ants, their damage to plantations, and characteristics of an Atta colony are discussed. The importance of defoliation of vegetation by this species is examined. Vegetation is covered with saliva and excrement and is used in mushroom beds within the colony where the ants cultivate Rozites gongylophora. Cultures are carefully tended and workers secrete substances which prevent the growth of other fungi or the development of bacteria. Characteristics of this monoculture which provides the nutritional requirements for both larvae and adults are discussed. Division of labor among the Atta is considered as well as development of new colonies and caste determination. Transmission of secretions among individuals and sensory stimulation including visual, sonoruos, olfactory and tactile stimulation for communication are discussed. The colony of A. cephalotes L. in captivity in Geneva [Switzerland] and its dynamics are considered.

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