Our research has suggested that leaf cutter ants with average levels of mandible wear spend twice as much time and energy cutting as ants with pristine mandibles. Ants with the most worn mandibles retire from cutting but still help out by carrying leaf segments. Our main focus of study is the zinc-rich material that is used by the ants in the cutting regions of the blades. About me: I have an associate appointment in the physics department to work on LIGO. However, I also do research in biology.