171. The Farmer Ants


In parts of North Central America, armies of ants can be seen marching–each one holding a tiny piece of leaf hoisted on its back, as if shading itself from the hot Sun!

These “parasol ants” use the leaves neither as umbrella nor as food. They are the “farmer” ants, growing their own supply of food and the leaves are the organic manure for their crop! Another name for these ant is Leaf Cutter Ant.

Once inside their nest, these ants chew up the leaves to a smooth pulp and wet it with a drop of liquid from the tip of their abdomen. It is then added to similarly treated piles on which a fungus grows. The ants then plant fungus on this new pulp and tend it growth.The other ants walk over the crops adding more drops of liquid from their abdomen.

For the parasol ants, the fungus is the sole source of food. Cultivation is vital for their survival. The ant gardens are enormous labyrinths of chambers underground, extending up to 12 feet below the ground level.

A six-year-old ant nest was found to be created by shifting a massive 40 tons of earth, to make 1920 chambers, to accommodate 44,000 ants. This colony had stripped trees of an estimated 6 tons of leaves!

Though the fungus flourishes in the ant farms, it perishes quickly in the wild. Scientists wondered whether the liquid from the abdomen contained antibiotics to protect the fungus.

But later it was found that the liquid drops contained only powerful fertilizers and nutrients. These helped the fungus to overcome all competitions and grow steadily–thus ensuring plenty of food supply for the hard working farmer ants.

Visalakshi Ramani

Advertisements

6 Responses to 171. The Farmer Ants

  1. As I site possessor I believe the content material here is rattling wonderful , appreciate it for your hard work. You should keep it up forever! Best of luck.

    • Nothing succedds like hard work.
      Whatever is worth doing
      is worth doing well.
      Please visit my other 11 blogs.
      All the links are given in my home page.
      Thank you very much for your good wishes. 🙂

  2. TurdleBoy says:

    Those ants are swag. (:

  3. Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe
    all is existing on net?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s