Stretching to the Treetops

Photo by Karla Moeller

Photo by David Reyes

Photo by Tyler Murdock

After 5 years of dreaming about what Azteca colonies are like in the tops of the tallest Cecropia trees, my collaborator Karla Moeller and I have made it a reality by renting a boom lift and taking it into the jungle. Now we have answers to some very simple questions - are there separate colonies in these large branching trees? are giant colonies more or less aggressive? do they show variation in collective behavior like smaller trees? do they respond to leaf damage like younger colonies? do they colonies all branch tips, or just a few? what's the colony connectivity like between branches at opposite ends of the tree? Results are forthcoming, stay tuned.