Did you know that farming ants have been in the agricultural business for millions of years?
Ants were farming before humans even existed. For millions of years, an ant species in the islands of Fiji has nurtured epiphytes, which provide the insects with nesting sites. An epiphyte is a plant that grows harmlessly upon another plant, such as a tree.
Several different ant species – farming ants – have a mutually beneficial arrangement with plants – a symbiosis – in which both partners in these relationships profit.
Prof. Susanne Renner, who teaches botany at the University of Munich in Germany, and her Ph.D. student Guillaume Chomicki, wrote in the prestigious journal Nature Plants about a remarkable relationship between ants and plants on the islands of Fiji.