Ants Eat Well, Thanks to Bacteria

Ants Eat Well, Thanks to Bacteria — Torrice 2009 1119: 2 — ScienceNOW.\

Posted by Jim:  Here’s another insect nitrogen story – leafcutter ants solve their low-N leaf problem by having N-fixing microbes in their gardens.  This reminds me of discussions I had with the late Professor Abe (Kyoto University) in 1997. Abe discovered that termites solve their N problem by harboring N-fixing bacteria in their guts.  I congratulated him on his terrific work and then asked him: ” So how do the termites get their phosphorus?”  Since his work was entirely focused on N, he didn’t really know.

Anyway, I think that in such cases the answer is usually “very slowly”.

I’d ask the same question of Torrice et al.: ‘Where do the leafcutters get their P?”  The answer is likely the same.  Rebecca Clark here at ASU is doing her PhD on the ES of leafcutter ants.  I hope she’ll have the answer!

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3 responses to “Ants Eat Well, Thanks to Bacteria

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