Acromyrmex octospinosus, commonly known as Leafcutting Ants. They are the most well known species of the Acromyrmex genus. They cultivate a fungus of species: Leucoagaricus gongylophorus which produces fruiting bodies for the ants to eat. The ants do not eat the leaves, but instead feed them to the fungus which releases digestive enzymes to break down the pulped leaf/plant material in order to grow. The fungus and the ants share a symbiotic relationship in which one could not survive without the other. Acromyrmex octospinosus are a polygyne species meaning they can have many Queens in a single colony
An Acromyrmex octospinosus colony can reach 40,000 individual ants, less than the Atta genus therefore a large enclosure is required with lots of space for expansion and suitable escape prevention is necessary, in the form of a moat. There are many castes of workers in an Acromyrmex octopsinosus colony: Minima, Minor, Media, Major. Each different caste performs a different job, for example the tiny Minima workers pulpifying the plant material for digestion by the fungus.
Description of Queen:12-14mm Orange to Brown
Description of Workers:5-15mm Dark Brown
Rearing Difficulty (1=Beginner, 5=Expert): 5(Requires constant control of both temperature and humidity, sophisticated escape prevention methods required also, high colony growth rate)
Temperature:24-28 C in the nest and 21-28 C in the arena (Temperatures higher than 28 can be dangerous to the colony and in the event of the temperature exceeding 30 C, the Queen is thought to become infertile).
Feeding:Leaves, plants, vegetation (Examples are: Ligustrum ovalifolium, Rubus fruticosus, Aucuba japonica variegata) Common names: Privet, Bramble, Spotted Laurel
Feeding Note: Chemical-free plant material required, organic produce if from supermarkets
Nest Suitability: Soil / LC Cubes / Clean glass nest / Acrylic containers
Minimum Tube / Connector Diameter: 20mm