Insects & Agriculture (Part I)

Agriculture has been an integral part of almost every thriving civilization. The Egyptians were the first to begin practicing agriculture, with the residents of India and China following shortly after. With the creation of agriculture came the assurance that food was no longer a major concern. However, humans were not the first to start this practice.

A category of ants commonly known as leaf-cutter ants have their own special farms composed of Lepiotaceae fungus. Most people believe that these ants carry away leaves in order to consume them. That is most certainly not the case, as these leaves are for the fungus which, in turn, are eaten by the ants. In order for these ants to found new colonies, however, they must have these fungi to expand.

When a new queen ant is born, it takes a piece of the fungal garden to wherever it decides to start the nest. This little piece is used to not only feed the queen, but also the first batch of worker ants.