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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.

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 avoi…

Limosa Harlequin Frog (Atelopus limosus)


Limosa Harlequin Frog (Atelopus limosus)

This species of endangered toad is endemic to Panama and is found on the banks of streams in humid lowland tropical forests and rivers of the Chagres basin in central Panama. It belongs to the toads’ family, and its scientific name is Atelopus limosus. It has two color forms, being more striking the one of higher lands which is green and yellow with black or dark brown chevrons.

Limosa Harlequin Frog (Atelopus limosus)

This toad is threatened by habitat loss and chytridiomycosis, an infectious disease that affects amphibians, caused by a fungus. This disease is so serious that the dramatic decline in amphibian populations is attributed to it, and it is considered that it can lead to the extinction of these populations. Amphibians are important to ecosystems because they are environmental indicators and insect controllers. Little is known about the diet of this toad, but it is likely that they feed on beetles, ants, flies and mites. This species is diurnal and is typically found on the slopes and on the shores of narrow rocky streams in primary forests.

The silt in its habitat matches the color of the toads; thus, they are inconspicuous on this surface.

Scientists from different parts of the world join efforts to find the cure of the fungus in amphibians and in Panama several rescue, conservation and reproduction projects of this and other amphibian species are carried out.

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