Atta insularis

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Atta insularis
Acromyrmex octospinosus 02.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Atta
Species: A. insularis
Binomial name
Atta insularis
(Guérin-Méneville, 1845)[1]

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

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

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

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.[citation needed]

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

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


See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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. JSTOR 10.1086/498139. PMID 16475081. doi:10.1086/498139. 
  5. ^ C. Noda; et al. (2006). "Measuring activity in ant colonies". Rev. Sci. Inst. 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. PMID 23848927. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.268104.