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Experimental evidence of a tripartite mutualism: bacteria protect ant fungus gardens from specialized parasites
TLDR
It is suggested that mutualisms between antibiotic-producing microbes and higher organisms may be common associations that are mostly overlooked and that the role of symbionts in reducing the impact of parasites is likely an important aspect in the cost-benefit assessment of mutualisms.
Waste management in leaf-cutting ants
TLDR
Evidence is provided for the importance of effective waste management in colonies of several Panamanian species of Atta and Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants, differing in colony size and typical mode of waste accumulation (external or internal dumps).
Variable sensitivity of fungi and bacteria to compounds produced by the metapleural glands of leaf-cutting ants
TLDR
The mutualistic fungus was sensitive to all classes of compounds, which suggests that defence via metapleural gland secretion is under constraint when the protection of the fungus garden is concerned.
Cooler butterflies lay larger eggs: developmental plasticity versus acclimation
TLDR
Overall, developmental plasticity and acclimation in the adult stage resulted in very similar patterns of egg size plasticity, suggesting that the most important question when testing the significance of acclamatory changes is not at which stage a given plasticity is induced, but whether plastic responses to environmental change are adaptive or merely physiological constraints.
Mutualistic bacteria and a possible trade-off between alternative defence mechanisms in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants
TLDR
Two sympatric species investigated, Acromyrmex octospinosus and A. echinatior, have quantitatively different combinations of these defence mechanisms, suggesting that the optimal investment in alternative defence mechanisms in different ant species depends on differences in caste allocation or parasite pressure.
Functional morphology of the metapleural gland in the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex octospinosus
TLDR
The histology of the metapleural gland of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex octospinosus is shown to be highly positively correlated with the number of secretory cells inside the gland and contraction of the rather massive thoracic muscles may allow active enhancement of the flow of gland secretion to the reservoir behind the bulla.
PARTIAL INCOMPATIBILITY BETWEEN ANTS AND SYMBIOTIC FUNGI IN TWO SYMPATRIC SPECIES OF ACROMYRMEX LEAF‐CUTTING ANTS
TLDR
It is shown that incompatibility between ants and transplanted, genetically different cultivars is indeed due to active killing of the novel cultivar by the ants, consistent with the hypothesis of recognition induced by the resident fungus and eventual replacement of incompatibility compounds during force‐feeding.
PARTIAL INCOMPATIBILITY BETWEEN ANTS AND SYMBIOTIC FUNGI IN TWO SYMPATRIC SPECIES OF ACROMYRMEX LEAF-CUTTING ANTS
Abstract We investigate the nature and duration of incompatibility between certain combinations of Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants and symbiotic fungi, taken from sympatric colonies of the same or a
Within‐colony transmission and the cost of a mutualistic bacterium in the leaf‐cutting ant Acromyrmex octospinosus
TLDR
The results of an experiment simulating within-colony transmission to callow workers suggest that the bacterium is predominantly transmitted from older to newly eclosed major workers, but that transmission may also occur via the fungus garden.
Mortality rates and division of labor in the leaf-cutting ant, Atta colombica
TLDR
The implications of two distinct sinks – foraging and waste-heap working – for division of labor were examined in the leaf-cutting ant Atta colombica, and exposure to waste led to a 60% increase in the mortality rate of waste- heap workers compared to workers not exposed to waste.
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