May’s big-butt ants at the UFM

May’s big-butt ants, at the UFM’s Academic Building
Photo by David Lee

With the first intense rains at the end of this month, May’s big-butt ants appeared today in the Campus and

Arboretum of Universidad Francisco Marroquín.

May’s big-butt ants, Atta laevigata, are edible.  They are roasted and usually are eaten with butter and salt.  You can find them at the markets of San Juan Sacatepéquez and Del Guarda.  They are also popular, among children, since it is easy to induce them into fights.

Fray Francisco Ximenez, translator of the
Popol Vuh and author of
Natural History of the Kingdom of Guatemala, talks about the ants and explains, «from May’s big-butt ants, that big and with wings, they don’t leave the anthill, only every year when the first heavy rains fall, that is usually during the month of May… and they rise flying with a wonderful singularity».

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