Fungus Gardeners

Yesterday there was an interesting article at Wired Science, Marvelous Destroyers: The Fungus-Farming Beetles by Brandon Keim, with some wonderful photographs by Jiri Hulcr. Did you know that bark beetles and ambrosia beetles actually feed on fungi rather than the wood or bark of the tree they infest? The author makes a good point about how this relationship started out in dead trees, but has run amok when the beetles and their fungi were introduced to new areas.

The article got me thinking about leafcutter ants, which leads to a trivia question:

Do you know who the first naturalist was to figure out that leafcutter ants were eating fungi rather than leaves? I’ll give you a hint: it was in the 1800’s.

Leave me a comment or visit Wild About Ants at Facebook and take a guess. At the Facebook page you will also see a link to a very cute ant anatomy fail by a young girl.

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