Watch: Leafcutter ants use leaves to grow fungi

Leafcutter ants don’t eat the leaves they harvest from plants; instead, they use them to sustain a white fungus that they grow in their nests to help feed them and their young. An expanded exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco will allow visitors to better observe the tiny creatures (Atta cephalotes) at work, KQED reports. After transporting their haul to underground nests—the equivalent of a human carrying more than 270 kilograms between his or her teeth—the ants crush and cut the leaves and even discharge fecal liquids to break them down into suitable pieces for their fungus farms.

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