A Virtual Tour of the Bruns Lab Continues...
The Ant Colony
Attine (leaf cutting) ants (Atta cephalotes) sever leaves from
trees and return to their nest.
Within minutes, leaves are cut up into smaller and smaller sizes
by smaller and smaller ants and are chewed up and implanted into
the living masses of fungus that line the nest chambers.
The smallest members
of the colony are in charge of caring for the fungus plantation,
weeding out foreign spores and periodically harvesting edible strands
of hyphae to feed the colony.
To find out more about these ants (Atta cephalotes), you may wish
to read the article entitled"A Farming Ant and Its Fungus Are Ancient Cohabitants"
by Natalie Angier, which appeared in the New York Times,
Science Times section, on Tuesday, December 13, 1994, the article by Ignacio Chapela on the
"Evolutionary History of the Symbiosis Between Fungus-Growing
Ants and Their Fungi" or the article by Gregory Hinkle on the
Phylogeny of the Attine Ant Fungi Based on Analysis of Small
Subunit Ribosomal RNA Gene Sequences",
both of which appeared in the December 9, 1994 issue of Science.
The tour continues: take a stroll through
Point Reyes and visit one of our study sites before the devistating Mount Vision fire.
Last updated: Monday October 23 1995