Ant Colony Devoid of Males

toto2810 By toto2810, 4th Mar 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Nature>Insects

A biologist at the University of Arizona has discovered an entire colony of ants that is devoid of males.

Mycocepurus smithii

smithii is a species of ants found in the Amazon, which has recently been found to be devoid of males.

A University of Arizona biologist and her team have been studying this species for their success in cultivating. Many species are known to have fungal farms, where they domesticate and breed different types of fungus to be harvested for food. Mycocepurus smithii have been discovered with fungal farms that dwarf others in both quantity and variety.

During this research the team realized that there were no males to to be found in the colony. After further studying it was found that the species sex organs had essentially disappeared. The species instead reproduces by cloning as do some of the fungi that they cultivate.

All ants in the colony are either direct or indirect clones of the queen. This mechanism of reproduction has both advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are that the females can spend more time cultivating fungi and all ants in the colony are able to produce offspring. A disadvantage is that there is little genetic diversity due to the cloning and therefore the colony can easily be devastated by illnesses.

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author avatar ittech
5th Mar 2012 (#)

Love this also... :D

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