Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Efecto del minima en la velocidad de los trabajadores en Atta cephalotes



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Publication Date

August 2007


The leaf-cutting ant, Atta cephalotes, creates trails of foragers which carry leaf fragments to the nest. A division of labor is created based on ant body size (Stevens 1983). The smallest members of the caste system, the minima, “hitchhike” on the leaves of workers returning to the nest. My study was performed on a large colony in Monteverde, Costa Rica to research the cost of efficiency to the colony in relation to velocity with minima travelers. I hypothesized that load size affects velocity of the worker and predicted that an increased load size will negatively influence velocity. I collected Atta workers (n = 240) with leaf fragments and their minima and measured their velocity and ant, minima, and fragment mass. Though it was discovered that more minima travel on smaller leaves (2 = 1990.13 p = < 0.001, df = 2), there was no significant relationship between increased load mass and velocity. The heavier load by the minima may be a trade off by foragers for the protection from parasitic flies that prey on workers. Las hormigas zompopas, Atta cephalotes, crean senderos de forrajeos por las cuales cargan segmentos de hojas a sus nidos. Existe una división de trabajo basada en el tamaño de la hormiga (Stevens 1983). Los miembros más pequeños de este sistema de castas, las “minimas”, viajan en las hojas de las obreras que regresan a sus nidos. Mi estudio se realizó en una colonia grande en Monteverde, Costa Rica con el propósito de investigar el costo de eficiencia de la colonia en relación a la velocidad de los viajeros minimas.


Ants-behavior, Hormigas--Comportamiento, Atta (Insects), Atta (Insectos), Leaf-cutting ants, Zompopas, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--Monteverde, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Monteverde, CIEE Summer 2007, CIEE Verano 2007


Student affiliation : Department of Biology, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Born Digital

Subject: topical

Ants-behavior; Hormigas--Comportamiento; Atta (Insects); Atta (Insectos); Leaf-cutting ants; Zompopas; CIEE Summer 2007; CIEE Verano 2007

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--Monteverde; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Monteverde



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Effect of minima on the velocity of the workers in Atta cephalotes



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