The Leaf Cutter Ants
Circa Regna Tonat’s inspiration were the Leaf Cutter Ants in the Natural History gallery at National Museum Cardiff.
These ants cut leaves from plants and trees to grow a fungus, which then feeds them. It is an example of 'mutualism', where both ants and the fungus benefit from each other.
Different ants do different jobs. There are medium sized, foraging ants that look for food, large soldier ants, and smaller ants which look after the fungus gardens and ant nurseries.
The sole queen ant produces all the ants within the nest, and can live for up to 17 years. If she dies, the nest dies with her.
She will eventually produce winged males and females, who perform a mating dance. While the males will die, the new pregnant queens take a chunk of the fungus and fly away to start their own nest.