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Germinators: Amoeba Farmers and Other Organisms That Grow Their Own Food [Slide Show]

New research shows how a social slime mold species seeds its own food, giving ants, termites and other fungal harvesters steep competition for surprising agriculture adaptations

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TERMITES

Although human's agricultural technology might have surged ahead of other farming organisms in the 10,000 years it has been around, some termites have been cultivating fungus species for tens of millions of years.....[ More ]

ANTS

Some ant species are colonized by a parasitic fungus that turns them into zombie vehicles for spore dispersal. But dozens of ant species have arrived at a more harmonious relationship with various fungal species.....[ More ]

BEETLES

"Insects were farming way before humans," says Debra Brock , a graduate researcher at Rice University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Ambrosia beetles cultivate their fungal food on trees.....[ More ]

DAMSEL FISH

Some fish are particularly picky eaters, and one species of damselfish ( Stegastes nigricans ) has been found to help their preferred food, the Polysiphonia alga, grow by weeding out competing species of algae.....[ More ]

SNAILS

To a casual observer, the marsh periwinkle ( Littoraria irrorata ) marine snail might seem to be feeding on marsh grass as it glides over the surface. But researchers reported in 2003 that this snail is actually engaging in a "facultative, farming mutualism," according to their study .....[ More ]

SOCIAL AMOEBA

Some lines of the social amoeba species Dictyostelium discoideum have recently been found to carry out a primitive form of farming. Rather than eating all of their bacterial food supply like most of their species, the farming single-celled organisms start their aggregation phase before food has run out.....[ More ]

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