Snake reproduction in a leaf cutter ant colony


This is an electronic appendix to the paper "The Fungus gardens of the leaf cutter ant Atta colombica function as egg nurseries", which was published online in Insectes Sociaux

For a reprint write E-mail to boris.baer[at]uwa.edu.au or visit the journals homepage. If you have a subscription to the Journal you can read the article here

Summary

During excavations of mature colonies of the leafcutter ant Atta colombica we found five large snake eggs in two neighbouring fungus gardens. The eggs were embedded within the fungus garden and were ignored by the host ants.
Two snakes eventually hatched, which we identified as being banded cat eyed snakes Leptodeira annulata L. We here provide photographs of the snakes to facilitate future identification if found again in the field.

Photograph 1

One of the two juvenile Leptodeira annulata L banded cat eyed snakes, taken shortly after hatching





Photograph 2

Photograph of one of the two juvenile Leptodeira annulata L banded cat eyed snakes, taken shortly after it hatched from one of five eggs found in the fungus garden of a Panamanian Atta colombica colony. Inset is a close-up of the head of this specimen.