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Where Are the Ants Carrying All Those Leaves? | Deep Look

October 20, 2019

We’re looking at some of the world’s earliest
and most competent farmers. These leafcutter ants make humans look like
newbies. We’ve been farming for 12,000 years. Ants have been doing it for 60 million. We developed plows and shovels. Ants use their own bodies. Their mandibles
are shears that cut through leaves with incredible efficiency. The ants drink the sap in the leaves for energy.
But they don’t eat them. Remember, they’re farming here. They’re using the leaves to grow something else. But first they have to haul the gigantic leaf
pieces away. This is no small matter. For a human, it would be like carrying more than
600 pounds between our teeth. Then, they clean the leaves. They crush them. Cut them into little pieces. Arrange them carefully in stacks. They even compost the leaves, with a little
of their own poop. They spread spores around, like seeds. Over time, a fungus grows. And that – this highly nutritious fungus
– that’s what the ants are after. They feed it to the colony’s offspring, millions of them. For humans, farming was the origin of our
civilization. And it’s the same for ants. They are fungus tycoons. Their colonies are
true underground cities with a bottomless need for resources. Having this reliable source of food has given
them the luxury to specialize. Leafcutter ants have the most complex division of labor
of any ants. There are tiny worker ants. And large worker ants. And enormous half-inch-long
soldiers that protect the colony. Like human farmers, their abundant food source
has made leafcutter ants very, very successful. And this is where two civilizations – ant
and human – collide. From Texas to South America, leafcutter ants
are huge agricultural pests. Working stealthily at night, they can strip an entire tree of
its best leaves in just hours. As their ant civilization grows, they build
up the soil in the tropical forest. But they also pose a threat to those around them. And in this way, we resemble them more than we might like to admit.


  • Reply Cucumber man45 September 14, 2018 at 11:15 am

    They farm, they build and they kill trees.

    Where have I heard this before?

  • Reply Dr Anupama Tripathi September 26, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Does ants sleep??

  • Reply Nicholas Gerry October 2, 2018 at 11:16 am

    You forgot about one thing.
    The ants live underground and the fungus produce carbondioxide (CO2) as it grows, which can be deadly and suffocating to the ants. So how do they survive?

  • Reply Cassidy P.P. Suck October 9, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    I like how out of every animal, humans and ants are the only ones who realized that we can grow food

  • Reply Aaron Jay October 11, 2018 at 3:31 am

    who else likes the female narrator?

  • Reply mAd hAtter October 14, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Not fair, we don't have sharp mandibles and decomposing chemicals.

  • Reply tony lynch October 17, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    I'm a ant

  • Reply tony lynch October 17, 2018 at 8:57 pm


  • Reply Bean Mr October 24, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    These ants are paid

  • Reply You expected a username but it was I, October 29, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Imagine if these insecta we're taken to the scale of a human. How powerful

  • Reply Echo Dasher456 November 1, 2018 at 2:48 am

    We are noobies XD

  • Reply Pradeep Dev November 1, 2018 at 8:11 am

    amazing footage! Great visual imagery.

  • Reply Kassandra Kristin Abuda November 25, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    2:49 I am groot

  • Reply MataElang404 Project November 30, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    How much they get the salary?

  • Reply M&M LINDSEY January 10, 2019 at 2:44 am

    ANTS are GREAT farmer maybe we can learn something

  • Reply Chris Topher January 12, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    What did the Pink Panther say when he stepped on an Ant?

  • Reply The Ant House January 12, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    There are actually many different genres of leafcutter ants like Acromyrmex , Trachymyrmex , and Miceritosis.

  • Reply Nathan Sotuman January 27, 2019 at 12:52 am

    60 million years and no evolution = made-up number

  • Reply Cman • February 13, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    They have enchanted their jaws with Effiency V

  • Reply Mamboo007 February 18, 2019 at 9:06 am

    They are like Pikmin in real life

  • Reply Sukhwinder Singh February 20, 2019 at 12:59 am

    My favourite animal is ant . Your ??

  • Reply Duc Minh Tran February 24, 2019 at 10:06 am

    First look at those fungus, "Oh its my heaven"

  • Reply Jackson Roberts February 28, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Leaf cutter ants! My favourite ant species!

  • Reply flavia frota March 8, 2019 at 7:10 am

    does this happen to all species of ants? do they all do this fungus thing?

  • Reply Matt Nicolas March 10, 2019 at 2:57 am

    Imagine If you were walking down the road and you see all of those ants carry leaves I would follow them

  • Reply Lime Toast March 11, 2019 at 11:46 am

    I thought they're for building materials

  • Reply Wild Introvert March 23, 2019 at 5:01 am

    When i see lots of cuts on the leaves i thought catterpillars ate em

  • Reply J Smokey April 6, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    How about us Gamers

  • Reply Mada Playz April 7, 2019 at 8:53 am

    The dislike are tree that loose the leaves

  • Reply Winter snow paw S April 14, 2019 at 10:59 am

    This is like a machine taking

  • Reply Kim Yeontan April 22, 2019 at 3:19 am

    we are the biggest pests

  • Reply Daniel b April 27, 2019 at 2:11 pm
    If you like ants and games

  • Reply WAN AHMAD ATIQI April 30, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Ant poop

  • Reply J Standards May 1, 2019 at 5:04 am

    That ending tho ?

  • Reply Americanperson ofAmerica9 May 1, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    You forgot the part about how winter ants do t hibernate and are the only other ants out during the winter in north America

  • Reply Hello People! Its MR Stegosaurus May 5, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    I once saw a leafcutter ant soldier killing another different black ant.

  • Reply Forbidden Wendigo May 11, 2019 at 9:06 am

    How does it feel, knowing these ants do more work than you and I?

  • Reply The LOL Minecrafter May 12, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Humans: We've been farming for over 20,000 years.
    Leafcutter Ant: That's real cute, noobs.

  • Reply Brandon Hernandez May 13, 2019 at 5:18 am

    That ending sentence is quite powerful.

  • Reply Gary Oak May 15, 2019 at 11:41 am

    I have two things to say. I’ve observed humans crushing insects so much, and it’s annoying to me. I watch someone I work with brutally murder over twenty crickets for no reason other than he didn’t like them. So that just shows you how sentient aliens could possibly perceive us. And the other thing is that I’ve eaten live ants before and they’re very tasty. It’s like eating a sour war head candy.

  • Reply joshuel david May 16, 2019 at 2:57 am

    Imagine seeing scott lang here

  • Reply aina zain May 25, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    i would like to see their general manager

  • Reply Qi May 30, 2019 at 11:34 am

    "We're working on something."

  • Reply Thanos Car May 31, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Guess like we are bots

    This ants are tryharders

  • Reply inkytoast :P June 1, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    now i want to watch bugs life

  • Reply Milena Re June 1, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I love your videos, they are super interesting and the quality is just perfect! Can I ask what camera and lenses you use?

  • Reply Rosie Animations June 2, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    am I the only one who wants to be reincarnated as a leafcutter ant now

  • Reply The Witch King of Angmar June 7, 2019 at 6:08 am

    I like leaf cutters ants, they have such organization.

  • Reply Zach Unlimited June 10, 2019 at 8:51 am

    cute ants >.<

  • Reply Lightning June 13, 2019 at 4:15 am

    It ain’t much but it’s honest work

  • Reply leahcism ovaslok June 22, 2019 at 2:21 am

    Everyone interested I also recommend zefranks video ant mutualism

  • Reply Marshyz Mellow June 28, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Their so cute

  • Reply Boomboomfractal 09 July 2, 2019 at 3:19 am

    Humans: Can we copy your homework?
    Ants: Yeah, just try to make it look different.

  • Reply astari djatmiko July 13, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    and then grasshoopers come out and take the ants' harvests

  • Reply BaconHairWithAWeirdName 1 July 31, 2019 at 7:37 am

    Ant kiddo: Mom there's fungi on the bread.

    Mom Ant: Oh just take away the clean ones.

  • Reply Afrin Nabi August 5, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Kinda looks like tinker bell movie ?

  • Reply TheLitest Kit2 August 6, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    These beasts, i cant even lift 20 pounds over my head bruh and 600 IN THEIR MOUTH????? Tiny beasts no mess with or kill

  • Reply Tame Doggo August 10, 2019 at 4:09 am

    Those ants have all that food and still decide to bite me?

  • Reply Coki3 August 11, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    So all those time I thought those snail and worm eat my tree ?

  • Reply Peppermint Swirl August 12, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Anyone here after Kurzgesagt's video?

  • Reply Aman Raj August 14, 2019 at 11:34 am

    0:45 "remember they're farming here"; the way she says it, it cracks me up everytime!!!???thanks deep look, I've taken biology for my future field thanks to your amazing video??

  • Reply Ant Trails August 16, 2019 at 2:32 pm


  • Reply PeterJuiceNator September 4, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    Leaf cutter ants are still really cool

  • Reply Joley D. September 5, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Ant working soo hard but… There I am when i see a ant I be like DiE

  • Reply Just a normal youtuber September 7, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Me the next morning:Where’s all my leaves!!!

    Ants: hehehe

  • Reply Espen Kelcey September 15, 2019 at 12:26 am

    Leafcutter ants, a non-generic name, are any of 47 species of leaf-chewing ants belonging to the two genera Atta and Acromyrmex. These species of tropical, fungus-growing ants are all endemic to South and Central America, Mexico and parts of the southern United States.

  • Reply Huck Finn September 18, 2019 at 7:44 am

    It's as if they research nothing before writing the script.

  • Reply Ba-to C. September 18, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    I thought they are smoking them leaves?

  • Reply Golden Glowie Animations September 19, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Sounds like what an ASMR guy would be doing

    ~. D

  • Reply Erika Yuleinny September 21, 2019 at 9:36 pm


  • Reply Serena Beaver September 23, 2019 at 12:57 am

    deeplook:its like carrying more than 600 pounds

    me:your jaw will snap if u try that so no one try that

    ps keep up the good work

  • Reply Imran Qureshi September 23, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    Why is the ant embryo so much bigger than all the other ants?

  • Reply Richard Johnson October 1, 2019 at 4:32 am

    @1:11 the ant crushing the leaf piece deserves a raise

  • Reply Nathaniel Park October 7, 2019 at 4:23 am


  • Reply Carmozz Karmozz October 10, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    They're vegan.

  • Reply Vetrivel October 18, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    How to steal those fungi from them for our food ? I'm in 7th grade and I was asked to provide solution for food problem

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