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Amazing Time-Lapse Shows Leaf-Cutter Ants Destroying Roses

By Hanssie on January 17th 2016

I usually don’t give any thought about ants unless it’s summer, it has been very dry, and I find them marching along in my kitchen. When I do discover them, though, the feelings of annoyance and frustration are the usual reactions. It’s not often I look at ants in awe.

Ants are pretty amazing. They are diligent workers that can hold 50-100 times its own body weight and are the longest living of the insects. They can live up to thirty years (unless I find them in my kitchen, of course). These fascinating insects also have two stomachs so they can hold food for not only themselves but for others as well. The following one-minute time-lapse shows leaf-cutter ants at the Houston Zoo destroy a handful of rose clippings. From the flowers to the stems and leaves, the ants make work of the clippings, taking about five hours to fully consume the roses.


Leaf-cutter ants cultivate their own food. They don’t actually eat the plants they collect. They bring the plants back to their underground gardens, chew up the leaves and use the pulp mixed with their ant feces to grow the fungus that they then eat. The time-lapse an incredible look at the process and hard work of ants, made possible with time-lapse photography.


It took our leaf cutter ants almost 5 hours to break down these rose clippings, but it will only take you 1 minute to see the magic!

Posted by Houston Zoo on Friday, January 15, 2016


Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ben Perrin

    Thanks for sharing this Hanssie!

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  2. David Hall


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  3. Colin Woods

    Wonderful, thanks for that. I think I am correct when I say that these ants are the only example of farming in the entire animal kingdom apart from ourselves.

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