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Insects 2017, 8(2), 39; doi:10.3390/insects8020039

Discovering the Giant Nest Architecture of Grass-Cutting Ants, Atta capiguara (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

1
Laboratório de Insetos Sociais-Praga, Departamento de Produção Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências Agronômicas/UNESP, Caixa Postal 237, 18603-970 Botucatu-SP, Brazil
2
Laboratório de Entomologia, Departamento de Fitotecnia e Zootecnia, Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia (UESB), , Caixa Postal 95, 45083-900, Vitória da Conquista-BA, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Brian T. Forschler
Received: 8 February 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 23 March 2017 / Published: 28 March 2017
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Abstract

Atta capiguara is a grass-cutting ant species frequently found in Cerrado biome. However, little is known about the giant nest architecture of this ant. In this study, we investigated the architecture of three A. capiguara nests from a fragment of Cerrado in Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil. Casts were made of the nests by filling them with cement to permit better visualization of internal structures such as chambers and tunnels. After excavation, the depth and dimensions (length, width, and height) of the chambers were measured. The results showed the shape of Atta capiguara nests consisting of mounds of loose soil with unique features resembling a conic section. The fungus chambers were found distant from the mound of loose soil and were spaced apart and distributed laterally at the soil profile. The waste chambers were located beneath the largest mound of loose soil. Both the fungus and waste chambers were separated and distant. Our study contributes to a better understanding of the so far unknown nest architecture of the grass-cutting ant A. capiguara. View Full-Text
Keywords: grass-cutting ants; social insects; nest grass-cutting ants; social insects; nest
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Forti, L.C.; Protti de Andrade, A.P.; Camargo, R.S.; Caldato, N.; Moreira, A.A. Discovering the Giant Nest Architecture of Grass-Cutting Ants, Atta capiguara (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Insects 2017, 8, 39.

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