Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ant carrying slime mold (and eating it?)

Ants feed on almost anything: polyxenid millipeds, nectar from extrafloral nectaries or cultured fungi - just to name a few options. Some may even say that Cheliomyrmex feed on vertebrates. But have you ever heard of ants feeding on slime molds? Myriorama took this picture of an ant carrying a piece of Arcyria slime mold. Carrying does not necessarily result into eating the slime mold or feeding it to the larvae but for what other reason should this ant carry around the slime mold?

Photo by Myriorama. Look at her set of Myxomycetes pictures and discover the hidden beauty of slime molds.

Via Flickr

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Anonymous said...

I just found a website of a man who studies fungus... he might be able to point you to an answer as to what these ants were doing.

Go to Tom Volk's webpage at http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/Toms_fungi/

(He recommends doing a search of his pages before submitting any questions first-had)

Mariel said...

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Ichthyic said...

a bit late on the draw here, but since slime molds eat bacteria...

if this is a species of ant that farms fungus for food, having a natural bacteria-predator will help keep your fungus gardens clear of bacteria.