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Latest Cameron Currie Stories

2011-02-11 19:39:16

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. Now, this mutualism -- a complicated interplay of ants, fungi and a suite of bacteria -- is coming into sharper focus as a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has published the complete genome of the leafcutter ant, Atta cephalotes. The study, published today (Feb. 10, 2011) in the journal Public Library of Science...

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2009-11-20 08:25:07

Symbiosis between ants and bacteria explains how leaf-cutter ants dominate tropical environments Leaf-cutter ants, which cultivate fungus for food, have many remarkable qualities. Now there's a new one to add to the list: these ant farmers, like their human counterparts, depend on nitrogen-fixing bacteria to make their gardens grow. The findings, reported this week in the journal Science, document a previously unknown symbiosis between ants and bacteria, and provide insights into how...

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2008-11-17 09:19:28

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. Just as farming helped humans become a dominant species, it has also helped leaf-cutter ants become dominant herbivores, and one of the most successful social insects in nature. According to an article in the November issue of Microbiology Today, leaf-cutter ants have developed a system to try and keep their...


Word of the Day
virgule
  • A punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information.
  • A little rod; a twig.
This word comes from the Late Latin 'virgula,' accentual mark, a diminutive of 'virga,' rod.
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