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Latest Leafcutter ant Stories

2f4dccdc48d364b4029a58f0ca79f3111
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...

90009971808fac48204705feee8febbe
2009-06-01 11:03:18

Fungus-farming ants have cultivated the same fungal crops for 50 million years. Each young ant queen carries a bit of fungus garden with her when she flies away to mate and establish a new nest. Short breaks in the ants' relationship with the fungus during nest establishment may contribute to the stability of this long-term mutualism, according to a study at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama. "We were struck by the paradox that even though the ants transfer a...

61c5cd0a718c19b2b1c13969aaa56a281
2009-05-30 05:45:00

The prestigious Smithsonian Museum has been overrun with insects. A brand new exhibit, "Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants," debuts Saturday at the National Museum of Natural History and is open through Oct. 10. The display will include a living leaf-cutter ant colony from Ted Schultz, the museum's curator of ants. Also on display is a 6-foot-tall cast of an ant colony collected by Walter Tschinkel, a student of ant-nest architecture at Florida State University. There will...

2009-04-01 09:54:09

Ant trails fascinate children and scientists alike. With so many ants traveling in both directions, meeting and contacting one another, carrying their loads and giving the impression that they have a sense of urgency and duty, they pose the following question: how do they organize themselves? A new study published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE may have some answers. Pedro Leite Ribeiro and his colleagues at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, believe they have found...

e1bec56bba348f6051d83f0bc7fefcd01
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...

471d9c5e7d3d1c767e3182c590a63d061
2008-07-23 09:05:00

The results of a new study suggest that past climate changes and sea level fluctuations may have promoted the formation of new species in the Amazon region of South America. Today, the Amazon basin is home to the richest diversity of life on earth, yet the reasons why this came to be are not well understood. A team of American and Brazilian researchers studied three species of leafcutter ants from Central and South America to determine how geography and climate affect the formation of new...

8508ea26a32bd11ee99b4f58b48710ac1
2008-03-24 16:45:00

It turns out ants, like humans, are true farmers. The difference is that ants are farming fungus. Entomologists Ted Schultz and Seán Brady at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History have published a paper in the March 24 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, providing new insight into the agricultural abilities of ants and how these abilities have evolved throughout time. Using DNA sequencing, the scientists were able to construct an...

df3adcea655410ef73dc3f1f654465811
2008-03-11 13:00:00

Far from being a model of social cooperation, the ant world is riddled with cheating and corruption "“ and it goes all the way to the top, according to scientists from the Universities of Leeds and Copenhagen.Ants have always been thought to work together for the benefit of the colony rather than for individual gain. But Dr Bill Hughes from Leeds' Faculty of Biological Sciences has found evidence to shatter this illusion.With Professor Jacobus Boomsma from the University of Copenhagen,...


Latest Leafcutter ant Reference Libraries

40_18e251273c83716513e79a1480e62c47
2005-09-12 10:19:57

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...

0_0bd3abc6102cfbf910539daa5d26705d
2005-09-07 18:11:11

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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Word of the Day
bellycheer
  • Good cheer; viands.
  • To revel; to feast.
The word 'bellycheer' may come from 'belle cheer', "good cheer".
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