Atta insularis

Atta insularis is a species of leafcutter ant, a New World ant of the subfamily Myrmicinae of the genus Atta. This species is from one of the two genera of advanced fungus-growing ants within the tribe Attini.

Atta insularis
Scientific classification
A. insularis
Binomial name
Atta insularis
(Guérin-Méneville, 1845)[1]

This species is the largest and most notable species of ant of Cuba. A. insularis is unique to Cuba, and has great polymorphism. Its workers specialize in different activities. The warriors have remarkably large heads.

They prefer to work at night, although they do by day, more if on cloudy days.

The nests are huge, and may comprise one or several mounds that can be spaced several metres apart. The height of the mound can sometimes exceed a metre. These nests in natural sites can be very durable, even more than 50 years.

This species is a pest of citrus, coffee,[2] and various Pinus species.[3]

Quantitative studies in the behaviour of A. insularis has been performed both in laboratory-controlled conditions,[4] and in the wild.[5][6]

See also

Further reading

  • Fowler, H. G; Robinson, S. W. (1979). "Foraging by Atta sexdens (Formicidae: Attini): seasonal patterns caste and efficiency". Ecological Entomology. 4: 239–247. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2311.1979.tb00581.x.
  • Fowler, H. G; Saes, N. B. (1986). "Dependence of the activity of grazing cattle on foraging grass-cutting ants (Atta spp.) in the southern neotropics". Journal of Applied Sciences Research. 101: 154–158. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0418.1986.tb00844.x.


  1. "Species: Atta insularis". AntWeb. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  2. Encyclopedia of Entomology, Volume 3 By John L. Capinera, p.966
  3. Speight, Martin R. (2001), Insect Pests in Tropical Forestry, ISBN 978-0-85199-461-1, p.108
  4. E. Altshuler; et al. (2005). "Symmetry breaking in escaping ants". American Naturalist. 166: 643–649. doi:10.1086/498139. JSTOR 10.1086/498139. PMID 16475081.
  5. C. Noda; et al. (2006). "Measuring activity in ant colonies". Rev. Sci. Instrum. 77: 126102. Bibcode:2006RScI...77l6102N. doi:10.1063/1.2400215.
  6. S. C. Nicolis; et al. (2013). "Foraging at the edge of chaos:internal clock versus external forcing". Phys. Rev. Lett. 110: 268104. Bibcode:2013PhRvL.110z8104N. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.268104. PMID 23848927.

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