Fungus-growing ants

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Formicidae - Atta mexicana-3.JPG
Atta mexicana workers carrying a leaf section
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Smith, 1858
Type genus
Fabricius, 1804

See text

46 genera

Fungus-growing ants (tribe Attini) comprise all the known fungus-growing ant species participating in ant-fungus mutualism. They are the sister group to the subtribe Dacetina.[2] Leafcutter ants, including Atta and Acromyrmex, make up two of the genera.[3] Their cultivars come from the fungal tribe Leucocoprineae[2] of family Agaricaceae.

This New World ant clade is thought to have originated about 60 million years ago in the South American rainforest.[2] While the fungal cultivars of the 'lower' attine ants can survive outside an ant colony, those of 'higher' attine ants are obligate mutualists. This obligate mutualism is thought to have evolved outside the rainforest, in areas where the fungi would not have been able to survive outside a colony anyway due to the dry environment.[2]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bolton, B. (2015). "Attini". AntCat. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Branstetter, M. G.; Ješovnik, A.; Sosa-Calvo, J.; Lloyd, M. W.; Faircloth, B. C.; Brady, S. G.; Schultz, T. R. (2017-04-12). "Dry habitats were crucibles of domestication in the evolution of agriculture in ants" (PDF). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284 (1852): 20170095. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0095.
  3. ^ Weber, N.A. (1966). "Fungus-Growing Ants". Science. 153 (3736): 587–604. doi:10.1126/science.153.3736.587.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Attini at Wikimedia Commons