Ants are amazing creatures that can do incredible things. One of the most amazing and interesting is their ability to grow mushrooms. Yes, you heard right! Some species of ants grow mushrooms, which are the main source of food for the entire colony.
But how does this happen? How do ants manage to grow mushrooms in their anthills? Let’s find out.
How an ant mushroom farm works
Some species of ants, such as leaf-eating ants, grow mushrooms inside their anthills. These mushrooms are called “leaf-eating mushrooms” because they feed on the leaves the ants collect from around their anthills.
The leaf-eating ants use leaves as a basis for growing mushrooms. They chew the leaves and secrete saliva, which contains bacteria and enzymes needed to break down the cellulose in the leaves. This creates a breeding ground for fungi to grow.
Ants take care of their fungi like real children. They regularly check the temperature, humidity, and quality of the mushrooms. If something is wrong, they take steps to correct the situation. For example, if the mushrooms begin to dry out, the ants increase the humidity in the anthill to create a more favorable environment for the mushrooms to grow.
How ants manage to keep their fungi healthy
Like any gardener, ants must deal with pests and diseases to keep their fungi healthy. They use a variety of strategies to combat problems in their mushroom gardens.
For example, leafminer ants secrete antibiotics from their bodies to fight fungal infections. They may also destroy infected fungi to prevent the spread of disease.
In addition, ants can use “fungus police”-special ants that search for and destroy fungi that may cause disease.
Interesting facts about ant farmers
– Some species of ants grow not only mushrooms, but also other crops such as honeycomb mushrooms and even vegetables.
– Leaf ants may have several “gardens” within their anthills, each with different types of mushrooms.
– Some species of ants use mushrooms not only as food, but also to cure their bodies.
Ants are amazing creatures that can teach us a lot about hard work, caring for our “children,” and dealing with problems. Who knows, maybe we can take an example from them and create our own “gardens” in the future.