Atta cephalotes (Attacep1.0)

Atta cephalotes Assembly and Gene Annotation

About Atta cephalotes

Leaf-cutter ants, such as Atta cephalotes, are among the most important herbivorous insects in the neotropics. These ants harvest vast quantities of fresh leaf material, which is used to cultivate a fungus that serves as the colony's primary food source. This obligate ant-fungus mutualism is one of the few occurrences of farming by non-humans and likely enabled the formation of their massive colonies. Leaf-cutter ant colonies display one of the most complex polymorphic caste systems, with workers ranging from small garden workers to large soldiers.

Picture credit (public domain): Scott Bauer (USDA) 2003


The genome of Atta cephalotes was assembled (to a coverage depth of ~18-20x) using genomic DNA from an alate male ant, collected from a mature colony in Panama. The sequencing was performed with 454 Titanium technology, allied with shotgun 8-kbp and 20-kbp paired-end sequencing datasets [1]. Ensembl Metazoa contains the Attacep1.0(2) version of the assembly, which adds the mitochondrial chromosome to the Attacep1.0 version.


The annotations displayed in Ensembl Metazoa are the NCBI Atta cephalotes Annotation Release 100 set. This set is based on the Official Gene Set v1.2, from the Ant Genomes Portal [2]; that original gene set is available as a separate track in the genome browser.


  1. The genome sequence of the leaf-cutter ant Atta cephalotes reveals insights into its obligate symbiotic lifestyle.
    Suen G, Teiling C, Li L, Holt C, Abouheif E, Bornberg-Bauer E, Bouffard P, Caldera EJ, Cash E, Cavanaugh A et al. 2011. PLoS Genetics. 7:e1002007.
  2. Hymenoptera Genome Database: integrated community resources for insect species of the order Hymenoptera.
    Munoz-Torres MC, Reese JT, Childers CP, Bennett AK, Sundaram JP, Childs KL, Anzola JM, Milshina N, Elsik CG. 2011. Nucleic Acids Research. 39:D658-62.

More information

General information about this species can be found in Wikipedia.



AssemblyAttacep1.0, INSDC Assembly GCA_000143395.2, Jul 2012
Database version108.1
Golden Path Length317,690,795
Genebuild byNCBI
Genebuild methodImport
Data sourceAnt Genomes Portal

Gene counts

Coding genes10,491
Non coding genes449
Small non coding genes449
Gene transcripts11,547