Daily foraging patterns of leaf cutter ants at La Selva

Leaf cutter ants carry leaf and flower pieces to their nests to nourish the fungus that they eat. The marching ants create conspicuous trails from the trees to their nests. We expected ant activity would vary over the course of the day as environmental conditions change. In particular, high light and temperature were expected to result in decreased activity due to increased potential for dehydration of ants and their cargo. We compared ant activity on three ant trails that we considered to be in closed forest with five trails that were in more open areas. We found that there were considerable differences in activity on the different trails, with trails classified as ÅgopenÅh tending to have more activity and more variation in activity from time to time. Our hypothesis was not supported in that there were no statistical differences in ant activity among sample times.

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