Reshared post from Alex Wild

Leafcutter ants practice the most sophisticated form of ant agriculture, and probably the most sophisticated form of nonhuman agriculture on the planet.

"Generalized higher agriculture is practiced by 63 species in two genera and refers to the condition of highly domesticated fungus. The fungi used in higher agriculture cannot survive without its agriculturalists to tend it and has phenotypic changes that allow for increased ease of ant harvesting. Leafcutter agriculture, which is a more highly derived form of higher agriculture, is practiced by 40 species in two genera and has the most recent evolution, originating between 8 and 12 million years ago. Leaf cutters use living biomass as the substrate to feed their fungi, whereas in all other types of agriculture, the fungus requires dead biomass."

Leafcutters have been practicing advanced forms of sustainable agriculture for over 8 million years. Human beings have been doing it for about 10,000 years or so, which is less that .15% of that time. 

#ants  are #awesome  

Alex Wild originally shared this post:

Among the more charming insects I encountered in southern Brazil was Acromyrmex disciger , a furry little leafcutter ant species. Here, a worker carries a cut leaf down a tree trunk.

Lighting this shot required a careful balance between fill and back flash.

For #wildlifewednesday , curated by +Mike Spinak.

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