Besides their unique behavior and the many peculiar behavioral and physiological changes associated with it, the Attini are distinguished from other ants by an unusual combination of anatomical traits, including the shape of the antennal segments; a less-than-absolute tendency toward hard, spinose, or tuberculate bodies, and a proportionately large, casement-like first gastral segment.
Many of the species of attines gather pieces of fresh leaves and flowers to nourish the fungus gardens. As fresh leaves and other plant cuttings are brought into the nest, they are subjected to a process of degradation before being inserted into the garden substratum.
The ants chew the fragments along the edges until the pieces become wet and pulpy, sometimes adding a droplet of clear anal liquid to the surface.
Finally, the ants pluck tufts of mycelia (vegetative parts of fungi) from other parts of the garden and plant them on the newly formed portions of the substratum.