Latest Atta Stories
Study increases understanding of 'coevolved mutualism' between ants and trees.
A new study by biologists at Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin finds that the Texas leaf-cutter ant, Atta texana, adapted to the harsh Texas winters through their food.
Leafcutter ants, signature denizens of New World tropical forests, are unique in their ability to harvest fresh leaves to cultivate a nutrient-rich fungus as food.
When their razor-sharp mandibles wear out, leaf-cutter ants change jobs, remaining productive while letting their more efficient sisters take over cutting, say researchers from two Oregon universities.
One of the most important developments in human civilization was the practice of sustainable agriculture: but we were not the first - ants have been doing it for over 50 million years.
New study shows the age of victims determines how fire ants respond to aggressors
It turns out ants, like humans, are true farmers. The difference is that ants are farming fungus.
The ants, one of the most successful groups of insects, are of particular interest because they form advanced colonies, and can constitute up to 15 percent of the total animal biomass of a tropical rainforest. They belong to the order Hymenoptera and are close relatives of the vespoid wasps. Ants appear in amber, found in central New Jersey, believed to be from the Cretaceous period. It is thought that they evolved from the wasps that had appeared during the Jurassic period. They are...
Leafcutter ants are found in warmer regions of Central and South America. These remarkable social insects have evolved an advanced agricultural system. They feed on a specialized fungus that grows only in the underground chambers of the ants' nest. The ants actively cultivate their fungus, feeding it with freshly-cut vegetation and maintaining it free from pests and weeds. This is done by a symbiotic relationship with a colony of bacteria that grows on the ants that protect the fungus. The...
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