Leaf Cutter Ants and
Black Iguanas
Costa Rica
At my lodge near Carara National Park the immediate neighbors
were leaf cutter ants.  They are easy to spot whenever you see
leaves moving.  The ants are much smaller than the leaves they
carry, appearing above as reddish in color.

What leaf cutter ants do is gather leaves, bring them home to
the nest, and feed a fungus that consumes leaves, while ants
eat the fungus.  It's all very well organized.  Ants head out in
one direction to get leaves, returning in the opposite direction
with their catch.  It's much easier to observe on video.   
What I had not seen before is how surgical the ants are in
cutting each leaf portion they will carry home.  Usually the ants
climb trees for their leaves, or it's impossible to tell where the
harvest takes place.  The trees survive since leaf cutter ants
rotate their targets, while keeping a permanent nest.
Here is a wider view of how leaf cutter ant teeth work like
scalpels in their grand scheme to feed a fungus and
themselves.  The ants qualify as weight lifters.  
A pair of Black Iguanas also lived at my lodge.  They
were easy to photograph on walkways and in more
natural looking places.  Only video can show how
iguanas walk.
Long tails make for a wiggle motion, especially on an
unnatural surface such as bricks.  Signs say "Don't
Feed the Animals", so instead I watched the iguanas
feed themselves.
Food for the iguanas was everywhere, and they  
climbed trees to munch upon leaves.  Unlike the ants,
iguanas gobbled up bunches of leaves.  This too is
better seen on video.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch
the Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's complete, free
video of this trip, "Rainforest Nature Nation", by
clicking on:
http://www.adventurepics.
com/IBE/video1.aspx?VF=CostaRica.wmv