Leafcutter Ants Nesting Above Ground

January 17, 2011

Cahuita NP, Limon Province, Costa Rica

I was watching some leafcutter ants and I noticed they disappeared inside the trunk of this tree palm(?). I thought perhaps they were just passing through, but another trail ended on the other side.

In the second photo you can see some leaves being carried along one of those stems. One of the nest entrances is about one third from the left and one third from the bottom.

I thought that leafcutter ants always had underground nests. Perhaps that’s the case here as well, with the majority of the nest still being underground. It’s a swampy area though, and the area behind the tree was submerged. It makes me wonder how leafcutter ants nest in areas that are often inundated with water.

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