Subject: Winged insect in Batopilas
Location: Batopilas, Chihuahua, Mexico
July 3, 2015 5:32 pm
Recently stumbled across this hellish creature on a plaza in the village of Batopilas, which sits at a lower elevation in the Copper Canyons of Chihuahua, Mexico. The previous night brought heavy rains and the insects had been washed from their nesting points into the streets in large numbers; it gave me the sense of a spawning ritual, as nearly all were dead or dying. I have no background in entomology so I figured I’d petition you guys.–the answer could very well be overwhelmingly obvious, but thanks for taking the time to check it out.
Your speculation about the spawning ritual is 100% accurate. This is an edible Leafcutter Ant in the genus Atta, and they swarm with the summer rains. Only the reproductive caste of Alates is winged, and a mated queen will start a new colony.