Amazonian Ant Species is All Female, Reproduces By Cloning

Posted on April 19, 2009  Comments (0)

Ants inhabit ‘world without sex’

The ants reproduce via cloning – the queen ants copy themselves to produce genetically identical daughters. This species – the first ever to be shown to reproduce entirely without sex – cultivates a garden of fungus, which also reproduces asexually.

Dr Himler’s interest in Mycocepurus smithii was originally sparked not by their unusually biased sex ratio, but by their ability to cultivate crops. “Ants discovered farming long before we did – they have been cultivating fungus gardens for an estimated 80 million years.

“They collect plant material, insect faeces and even dead insects from the forest floor and feed it to their crops,” she said.

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