Trivia

Hard

Leafcutter Ants Don’t Eat Leaves, But Use The Leaves To?

Grow Fungus
Ferment Alcohol
Attract Grubs
Build Their Nests

Answer: Grow Fungus

A fixture in nature documentaries and school science books because of their curious and industrious leaf harvesting efforts, leaf cutter ants—despite what you might have assumed—don’t actually eat the leaves.

The leaves are, instead, food for the ants’ elaborate underground fungus farms. Leaf cutter ants have a symbiotic relationship with strains of fungi in the Lepiotaceae family and have, for tens of millions of years, carefully tended underground gardens of fungus. The ants feed the fungus leaf clippings and, in return, the fungus flourishes and provides nutrients for the ant larvae in the colony.

The relationship between leaf cutter ants and their fungus is sophisticated, with the ants being able to detect tiny traces of chemical compounds secreted by the fungal colonies, which the ants use to adjust growing conditions and to tend to the fungus just like a farmer analyzing soil.

Fungus is so critical to leaf cutter ants that when a new queen sets out to form a new colony, she takes a starter fungus with her in a specialized pocket within her mouth to seed her new colony. In the photograph here, you can see a mature queen with her workers, seated upon a mountain of the fungus that sustains the colony.

Trivia

Hard

In South Korea, Citizens Are Required To Use Which Web Browser?

Trivia

Hard

With Whom Did The Swedish Band ABBA Have To Negotiate With For Rights To Their Name?

Trivia

Hard

The First Natural Color Photo Published In National Geographic Was Of What?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest National Park In The World Is Located In Which Country?

Trivia

Easy

The First Fast-Food Chain In The United States Was?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest Collection Of Christian Holy Relics Outside The Vatican Is Located In?

Trivia

Hard

Which Microcontroller Was Named After A King?

Trivia

Hard

Which Creature Cannot Survive In A Micro Gravity Environment?

Trivia

Hard

What Off-The-Shelf Addition Did NASA Scientists Add To The Voyager Probes At The Last Minute?

Trivia

Hard

What Popular Snack Was Originally Created For The Wives Of U.S. Servicemen?