- Digital ImagesAvailable online
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis is the northernmost fungus growing ant, and is abundant in pine flat forests throughout the Eastern USA, ranging as far north as Long Island, New York. In this symbiosis, T. septentrionalis ants collect plant material and insect feces, which they feed to a specific "cultivar" fungus that they farm in underground gardens. Once the fungus has digested this food, it forms nutrient-rich swellings that the ants feed upon. The ants also protect their cultivar fungus from disease using antibiotic-producing Pseudonocardia bacteria that reside on the ants' proplueral plates (i.e., "chest"). The ants therefore both farm the cultivar fungus as their food source and protect it by "crop spraying" antibiotics produced by their symbiotic Pseudonocardia bacteria.
- Macroscopic Solutions