Atta

Atta
Enlarge picture
queen of A. columbica

queen of A. columbica
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Order:Hymenoptera
Family:Formicidae
Tribe:Attini
Genus:Atta
Fabricius, 1805
Species


This article is about the genus of New World ants. For other uses of the word Atta see Atta (disambiguation).


Atta is a genus of New World ants of the subfamily Myrmicinae.

Overview

Commonly known as "leaf-cutter ants" they comprise one of the two genera of advanced attines within the tribe Attini, along with Acromyrmex.

Atta is one of the most spectacular of the attines, and colonies can comprise in excess of one million individuals.

Atta exhibits a high degree of polymorphism, five castes being present in established colonies - minims (or 'garden ants'), minors, mediae and majors (also called soldiers or dinergates) being present.

Enlarge picture
Workers of A. columbica cutting all the leaves from a young tree


The high degree of polymorphism in this genus is also suggestive of its high degree of advancement. Every caste has a specific function, and some remarkably advanced phenomena have been observed in respect of Atta species. An example of such is the behaviour of older minor workers: young minors work within the nest, tending the fungus gardens, but older ants perform a different duty - they climb on the cut sections of leaf whilst they are carried back to the nest by the media workers solely to protect the latter from a particular species of phorid fly that parasitises the leaf-carrying caste. When a media is maneuvering a leaf section back to the nest, it cannot protect itself from this fly, and that the minors behave in this way demonstrates the apex of evolutionary advancement that this species embodies.

Enlarge picture
A. cephalotes at work
Like Acromyrmex, Atta subsists mostly on a particular species of fungus which it cultivates on a medium of masticated leaf tissue. This is the sole food of the queen and other colony members that remain in the nest. The media workers also gain subsistence from plant sap they ingest whilst physically cutting out sections of leaf from a variety of plants.

Before leaving their parent colonies, female alates take a small section of fungus into their bucchal pouches and it is with this that the subsequently deälated queens 'seed' the fungus gardens of incipient colonies, cutting and collecting the first few sections of leaf themselves.

Atta has evolved to constantly change foodplant, preventing a colony from completely stripping of leaves and thereby killing trees, thus avoiding negative biological feedback on account of their sheer numbers. However, this does not diminish the huge quantities of foliage they harvest - Atta is estimated for being responsible for the decomposition of 20% of all leaves in South America. Consequently, the genus is considered a major agricultural pest species in areas where its range coincides with arable farming activity.


See also

Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. Scientific classification also can be called scientific taxonomy, but should be distinguished from folk taxonomy, which lacks scientific basis.
..... Click the link for more information.
Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled until (UTC) due to vandalism.
If you are prevented from editing this page, and you wish to make a change, please discuss changes on the talk page, request unprotection, log in, or
..... Click the link for more information.
Arthropoda
Latreille, 1829

Subphyla and Classes
  • Subphylum Trilobitomorpha
  • Trilobita - trilobites (extinct)
  • Subphylum Chelicerata

..... Click the link for more information.
Insecta
Linnaeus, 1758

Orders
Subclass Apterygota
* Archaeognatha (bristletails)
* Thysanura (silverfish)
Subclass Pterygota
* Infraclass Paleoptera (Probably paraphyletic)

..... Click the link for more information.
Hymenoptera
Linnaeus, 1758

Suborders

Apocrita
Symphyta

Hymenoptera is one of the larger orders of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants.
..... Click the link for more information.
Formicidae
Latreille, 1809

Subfamilies
  • Aenictogitoninae
  • Agroecomyrmecinae
  • Amblyoponinae (incl. "Apomyrminae")
  • Aneuretinae
  • Cerapachyinae
  • Dolichoderinae
  • Ecitoninae (incl.

..... Click the link for more information.
Attini

Genera
  • Acromyrmex
  • ''Apterostigma
  • Atta
  • Cyphomyrmex
  • Mycetagroicus
  • Mycetarotes
  • Mycetophylax
  • Mycetosoritis
  • Mycocepurus
  • Myrmicocrypta

..... Click the link for more information.
Johan Christian Fabricius (January 7, 1745 - March 3, 1808) was a Danish entomologist and economist.

Fabricius was born at Tønder in South Jutland. He studied at the gymnasium at Altona and entered the University of Copenhagen in 1762.
..... Click the link for more information.
Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné)

Carl von Linné, Alexander Roslin, 1775. Currently owned by and hanging at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
..... Click the link for more information.
Félix Édouard Guérin-Méneville (October 12, 1799 – January 26, 1874) was a French entomologist.

Guérin-Méneville was the author of the illustrated work Iconographie du Regne Animal de G.
..... Click the link for more information.
Félix Édouard Guérin-Méneville (October 12, 1799 – January 26, 1874) was a French entomologist.

Guérin-Méneville was the author of the illustrated work Iconographie du Regne Animal de G.
..... Click the link for more information.
A. laevigata

Binomial name
Atta laevigata
F. Smith, 1860

Atta laevigata is one of about a dozen species of leafcutter ants in the genus Atta, found from Colombia south to Paraguay.
..... Click the link for more information.
Frederick Smith (1805 - 1879) was a British entomologist.

Smith worked in the zoology department of the British Museum from 1849, specialising in the Hymenoptera. In 1875 he was promoted to Assistant Keeper of Zoology.
..... Click the link for more information.
Frederick Smith (1805 - 1879) was a British entomologist.

Smith worked in the zoology department of the British Museum from 1849, specialising in the Hymenoptera. In 1875 he was promoted to Assistant Keeper of Zoology.
..... Click the link for more information.
A. sexdens

Binomial name
Atta sexdens
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Atta sexdens is a species of leafcutter ant belonging to the tribe Attini.
..... Click the link for more information.
Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné)

Carl von Linné, Alexander Roslin, 1775. Currently owned by and hanging at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
..... Click the link for more information.
A. texana

Binomial name
Atta texana
Buckley, 1860

The Texas leafcutter ant, Atta texana, is a fungus-farming ant species mainly found in Texas and Louisiana in the U.S..
..... Click the link for more information.
Samuel Botsford Buckley (May 9, 1809 - February 18, 1884) was an American naturalist.

External links

  • famousamericans.net

..... Click the link for more information.
Atta may refer to:
  • Atta (genus), a genus of New World ants of the subfamily Myrmicinae
  • Atta flour, whole wheat flour made from durum wheat commonly used in South Asian cooking
  • Atta biodiversity information system, belonging to INBio in Costa Rica

..... Click the link for more information.
genus (plural: genera) is part of the Latinized name for an organism. It is a name which reflects the classification of the organism by grouping it with other closely similar organisms.
..... Click the link for more information.
The New World is one of the names used for the Americas. When the term originated in the late 15th century, the Americas were new to the Europeans, who previously thought of the world as consisting only of Europe, Asia, and Africa (collectively, the Old World).
..... Click the link for more information.
Formicidae
Latreille, 1809

Subfamilies
  • Aenictogitoninae
  • Agroecomyrmecinae
  • Amblyoponinae (incl. "Apomyrminae")
  • Aneuretinae
  • Cerapachyinae
  • Dolichoderinae
  • Ecitoninae (incl.

..... Click the link for more information.
family (Latin: familia, plural familiae) is a rank, or a taxon in that rank. Exact details of formal nomenclature depend on the Nomenclature Code which applies.
..... Click the link for more information.
Myrmicinae

Tribes
See text

Myrmicinae is a subfamily of ants. The pupae lack cocoons. Some species retain a functional sting. The petioles of Myrmicinae consist of two nodes.
..... Click the link for more information.
This article or section is written like a personal reflection or and may require .
Please [ improve this article] by rewriting this article or section in an . (, talk)

..... Click the link for more information.
Attini

Genera
  • Acromyrmex
  • ''Apterostigma
  • Atta
  • Cyphomyrmex
  • Mycetagroicus
  • Mycetarotes
  • Mycetophylax
  • Mycetosoritis
  • Mycocepurus
  • Myrmicocrypta

..... Click the link for more information.
Phoridae

Subfamilies
  • Aenigmatiinae
  • Metopininae
  • Phorinae
  • Sciadocerinae
Phoridae is a family of small, hump-backed flies resembling fruit flies.
..... Click the link for more information.
A. sexdens

Binomial name
Atta sexdens
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Atta sexdens is a species of leafcutter ant belonging to the tribe Attini.
..... Click the link for more information.
A. texana

Binomial name
Atta texana
Buckley, 1860

The Texas leafcutter ant, Atta texana, is a fungus-farming ant species mainly found in Texas and Louisiana in the U.S..
..... Click the link for more information.
: Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

  • Acamatus
  • Acanthognathus
  • Acanthomyops
  • Acanthosticus
  • Acromyrmex
  • Adetomyrma
  • Aenictus

..... Click the link for more information.


This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.