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Biology

Miniature Farmers

I’m suffering a bit from yet another attempt to resolve the ongoing pain in the wrist I injured almost 5 years ago. See some previous posts for some of the details. So this will be a relatively short post.

A leaf cutter ant carrying a piece of leaf along a branch

I admit that I took this photo several years ago at the Montreal Botanic Gardens. At the time, I assumed, like many do, that the ants were collecting the leaves for food and they are, sort of. They don’t actually eat the leaves, they plant them. Leaf cutter ants collect the leaves and use them as fertilizer in their fungus gardens. They grow and tend the fungus in order to feed the larvae. The adults consume sap from the leaves.

There are 250 species of ants that grow fungus like this. If you’d like to learn more check out the McGill University page on the ants.

About Tai Munro

I am passionate about making science, sustainability, and sport accessible through engaging information and activities.

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