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The Anthill - New 2018

The Anthill

The new 2018 at Acquario di Livorno - is now visible on first floor is a real anthill with leaf cutting ants. 

The exhibit on first floor will consist of 2 main cases, joined together by acrilic and transparent pipes. 

The nest 

The first case, placed at the entrance of the area, is called "nest- case" where the colony of ants lives and carries out most of the activities. The case has a surface of about 5 square meters of a volume of about 340 liters that are mainly occupied by soil where the leaf cutting ants build different spaces.  

On both sides of the "nest case" there are two holes from which transparent acrylic pipes leave - passing through the whole esotarium - and where the leaf cutting ants move in both direction carrying material and leaves to store them in the case situated at the end of the rooom. 

The Storage rack situated at the end of the room and connected with transparent pipes to the "nest case": here the leaf cutting ants store the leaves as composting material. 


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The leaf-cutter ants

The leaf-cutter ants belong the to Atta  genus and they usually collect leaves that are found in the areas sorrounding their nest.

This specimens do not consume vegetation, but rather use it as fertilizer to grow the fungus in a relationship of mutual symbiosis. 

The growing fungus produces small "inflorescences" that are consumed by the ants themselves as food. 

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