Area of zoo
Enclosure status
IUCN status
Least Concern
Scientific name
Atta cephalotes

What do leafcutter ants look like?

This small insect has a brown body and six legs and also features to sharp pincers at the front of its face which it uses to cut leaves. These amazing insects are some of the wonders of the animal world, industriously carrying their segments of leaf back to the nest.

Leafcutter ant facts

  • They can lift up to 50 times their own body weight
  • There are 47 species of leafcutter ant.
Leafcutter ant carrying piece of paper with ZSL logo

What do leafcutter ants eat?

 Leafcutter ants eat a unique type of fungus, which they farm in fungus gardens and feed with a compost made out of the leaves they cut. They were farming millions of years before humans!

Where do leafcutter ants live?

Central and South America, Mexico and parts of the southern United States.

Escape to the rainforest

A place in the city like no other, with trees filled with monkeys, snoozing sloths and bats flying overhead! Be transported to the Amazon rainforest and find out why it's one our most popular spots!

Invertebrates at the Zoo

  • Golden orb spider at London Zoo Spider walk-through
    Nephila edulis

    Golden orb weaver

    Male golden orb weavers can be tiny, with the females being up to 50 times his size.  

  • Emperor scorpion at London Zoo
    Pandinus imperator

    Emperor scorpion

    One of the largest scorpions in the world, and they carry their young on it's backs when they are born.

  • Madagascar Orb Weaver in a web
    Nephila inaurata madagascariensis

    Madagascar orb weaver

    One of the largest orb weaving spiders, which can spin webs up to 1 metre wide. The female spiders are six times bigger than the males.

  • Postman butterfly wings closed on a leaf
    Heliconius melpomene

    Postman butterfly

    This poisonous Mexican butterfly stores the toxins it eats as a caterpillar as protection from predators.

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