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Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)

The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is a species of mammal related to the anteaters and sloths that can be found from the South of the United States to the North of Argentina. It is found in grasslands, tropical forests and a wide variety of dryland habitats. Although it seems more common in humid areas, where they excavate the earth to create burrows with their legs that have claws. It has an armored body and despite its short legs, it moves very quickly.
It is an animal of mainly nocturnal habits, very elusive and timid; it is guided by smell, and also by the acute sense of hearing. During the day they usually stay in their burrows, and in the evenings, they venture into open fields to hunt insects and larvae. It is an insectivorous animal, feeding mainly with ants and termites. However, it also feeds on other small insects and invertebrates such as worms and snails, tuberous roots and small amphibians. Due to being hunted for its meat and shell, and due to destruction o…

Leafcutter Ants

Leafcutter Ants are any of the forty seven species of ants belonging to the genera Atta and Acromyrmex that chew leaves. They are tropical ants that grow fungi that inhabit the southern United States, Central America and South America. The crops are grown in underground gardens that can be enormous. The cultivated fungus is completely dependent on the care of the ant and is the food of all the members of the colony, being the only food of the queen, the larvae and other members of the colony that remain in the nest; what turns the relationship into an obligated mutualism. The workers who cut leaves, in addition, ingest sap from the plants while cutting their segments.

Leafcutter Ants - Often tiny ants sit on the leaves loaded by a working ant, to give protection against predatory insects.

The cutters go up in mass to the trees and they kneel their jaws on the leaves and cut sections. The columns of haulers can be seen with large pieces of vegetation raised high. They can attack many plants but constantly change the plant, apparently preventing the total removal of leaves and the death of trees, thus avoiding a negative ecological effect taking into account their high number of individuals.

Leafcutter Ants - worker (L) and minima (R)

The role of the different species of leafcutter ants in natural conditions is to stimulate the growth of plants and enrich the soil; if these insects are exterminated, there would be a significant change in the structure of forests and pastures, including the extinction of some species of plants and animals.

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