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Fungus gardening ants make clear choices among fungal substrates (food for their fungus). It has been proposed, but never demonstrated, that these ants are collecting the best for their symbiotic fungus and the production of ant biomass (fitness). The goal of this study was to determine whether preferred substrates lead to higher fitness in the attine,(More)
The ecology of the fungus-gardening ant Trachymyrmex septentrionalis McCook (Hy-menoptera: Formicidae) was investigated in a northern Florida longleaf pine, Pinus palustris Mill., forest. This ant is extremely abundant in pine sandhill in the Apalachicola National Forest, in north Florida; a hectare contains on average Ͼ1,000 nests, 235,000 T.(More)
1. Insects are known to be influenced by global climate change, especially by drought and increased temperatures. 2. Although ants are widely regarded to be indicator or keystone species and ecosystem engineers, we do not know how ants may respond to global climate change. 3. This study reports the range contraction of an extremely abundant fungus-gardening(More)
One of the more fascinating features of fungus-gardening ants (Attini: Formicidae) is their fidelity to their lineage-specific fungal symbionts. Among the derived higher-attine ants (leafcutter ants and close relatives), it is thought that most leaf-cutting ants grow Attamyces fungus whereas most Trachymyrmex ants grow ‘Trachymyces’ fungus, but there exist(More)
Soil invertebrates such as ants are thought to be important manipulators of soils in temperate and tropical ecosystems. The fungus gardening ant, Trachymyrmex septentrionalis, is an important agent of biomantling, that is, of depositing soil excavated from below onto the surface, and has been suggested as an agent of bioturbation (moving soil below ground)(More)
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