Latest Leafcutter ant Stories
A parasitic fungus that must kill its ant hosts outside their nest to reproduce and transmit their infection, manipulates its victims to die in the vicinity of the colony
Scientists are locked in an epic struggle with bacteria – with some of the tiny microbes displaying an increased resistance to antibiotics year after year.
As gardeners around the United States tend to their flowers or herbs, leaf-cutter ants are actively cultivating gardens of fungus and bacteria as a source of food and shelter.
A single ant colony can have thousands of ants, all scurrying around performing various tasks, maintaining their territory for the queen. And because they all look alike, studying them individually by eye can prove extremely difficult, if not impossible.
The development of agriculture was a significant event in human cultural evolution, but we are not the only organisms to have adopted an agricultural way of life.
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.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia, have shown that fungus-farming ants are using multiple antibiotics as weed killers to maintain their fungus gardens.
Leafcutter ant queens can live for twenty years, fertilizing millions of eggs with sperm stored after a single day of sexual activity.
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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