The Leaf-Cutting Ants: Advanced agricultural civilization by instinct
Presenter - Randy Morgan – Emeritus Curator – Insectarium, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
The social complexity of Leaf Cutting Ants is second only to that of humans. They dominate the Neotropics and nest in a fortress city with millions f task-specialized workers farming fungus for food on freshly cut leaves. Their relentless leaf harvesting behavior stimulate primary plant productivity in nature but also devastates human crops. Come meet our fungus-growing friends and foes: The leaf cutting ants.
Randy holds an M.S. in entomology from the University of Wisconsin. He worked at the Cincinnati Zoo Insectarium for 32 years and is now retired from his position as curator of Invertebrates, Reptiles, and Amphibians. At the Zoo he managed a diverse collection of live insects and other small animals for public education display, developed a world-class exhibit and received significant recognition and awards for his efforts. He has worked extensively with leaf cutting ants in the field, in laboratory observation nests and in public exhibits for nearly 40 years. Randy loves to share his passion of these incredible insects and other life animals that propel our living world.