at·​tine | \ ˈa-ˌtīn How to pronounce attine (audio) \
plural attines

Definition of attine

: any of various myrmicine ants (tribe Attini) found chiefly in tropical America that culture fungi for food Leaf-cutters and all the other attines cultivate various kinds of fungi for colony members to eat.— Susan Milius, Science News, 21 Nov. 1998 Species of the lower attines do not cut and use leaves as the main substrate for their symbiotic fungus, but rather gather a large variety of dead vegetable matter, including bits of leaves, plant seeds, and fruits, as well as insect feces and corpses.— Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson, The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct, 2011

Note: The tribe Attini comprises ants of the genus Atta, known as leaf-cutting ants, and closely related genera.

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Other Words from attine

attine adjective
The leaf-cutters represent the most advanced division of a powerful insect tribe called the attine ants, 200 species that engage in a mutually convenient arrangement with fungi. — Natalie Angier, New York Times, 13 Dec. 1994

First Known Use of attine

1922, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for attine

borrowed from New Latin Attini, from Atta Atta entry 2 + -ini -ini

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Cite this Entry

“Attine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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