ZSL London Zoos ants get lucky
Friday 15 June 2007
ZSL London Zoo’s leafcutter ants got to work helping to launch Love UK, a National Lottery campaign celebrating the £20 billion Lottery money that has gone to support good causes.
Our fantastic The B.U.G.S exhibit was funded with Lottery money in 2000.
Leaf-cutter ants cut pieces of leaf and take them back to their huge underground nests, following a scent trail they leave. Inside the nest, the leaf pieces are broken down and used for growing fungus. The ants feed on this fungus.
Just leaving the specially designed ant-sized 1cm X 1.7cm lotto tickets near their plant material was enough to intrigue the ants, who carried them off to their nests to investigate further.
It doesn’t look like any of them were jackpot winners though – once the ants realised the tickets would not help the growth of fungus they dumped them all in the water surrounding their nest.