Paying homage to the wonderful, unusual and diverse world of animals. I make no claim to content ownership. Sources are credited (with links) whenever possible — on both unique posts & re-blogs. Any post will be removed upon request (please provide URL link to the post/page). Enjoy!
Central American leaf-cutter ants “retire” from their cutting role when they grow old, switching to carrying when their jaws blunt with age.
Leaf-cutter ants start their lives with razor-like jaws, or mandibles, to cut through the leaves they harvest. But as these “wear out”, the insects tend to carry the leaves cut by their younger counterparts.
The findings suggest that individual ants can extend their useful lifespan as their skills decline. They are reported in the journal Behaviour Ecology and Sociobiology.