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Ant farmers use bacteria to make their gardens grow

In a new research, scientists have found that ant farmers, like their human counterparts, depend on nitrogen-fixing bacteria to make their gardens grow.

The finding documents a previously unknown symbiosis between ants and bacteria and provides insight into how leaf-cutter ants have come to dominate the American tropics and subtropics.

The partnership between ant and microbe permits leaf-cutters to be amazingly successful. Their underground nests, some the size of small houses, can harbor millions of inhabitants. In the Amazon forest, they comprise four times more biomass than do all land animals combined.
 
 

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