CREATURE FEATURE – Leafcutter Ants

Dr. Brady Barr finds a trail of leafcutter ants in this week’s Creature Feature.

Because they carry cut leaves above their heads like little umbrellas, leafcutter ants are also known as parasol ants. And did you know that a leafcutter ant can carry almost ten times its own weight? That would be like the average eight-year-old carrying a cow!

Leafcutter ants carry the leaf pieces they cut back to their underground nests. The leaves are chewed into a pulp, and afterwards a special fungus grows on them. The leafcutter ants use this fungus, not the leaves, as a crop for their colony to eat!

You can also think of these ants as little farmers with five different jobs: foragers, gardeners, choppers, tiny ants that distribute leaf bits to the fungus, and even smaller ants called minimae that tend to the fungus.

RIM – Rare Pirate Beard

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There were female pirates, although not very common. The most notable were Anne Bonnie and Mary Read who sailed with ‘Calico Jack Rackham’ in 1719.

They were known to belt on a sword and a pistol and take to the seas dressed as men. Maybe they had this week’s RARE ITEM MONDAY, Rare Blue Pirate Beard. They were also regarded as better fighters than their male shipmates. When Jack’s ship ‘The Kingston’ was captured by the law, Bonnie and Read claimed they were with child to avoid being hanged with the rest of the crew.

GAME TIP – Earth Day

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Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22. Events are held worldwide to show support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970 and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 192 countries each year.

Earth Day helps increase the base of support for environmental programs and builds community around the world with a broad range of events and activities.  Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously by more than a billion people every year.

Click on the banners in Jamaa for Earth Day facts!!