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Symbiosis

Different kinds of organisms can live together to promote the survival of one or both creatures.

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Are You Ready For A Zombie Ant?

Are You Ready For Zombie Ants?

Wait, Who's In Charge?

Have you heard the one about the carpenter that got turned into a zombie? Maybe that's because the carpenter was an ant, and the "zombie master" was a fungus?

No Duh's and Head Scratchers

If you need help scratching a mental itch, use the resources below:

  1. Does knowing that a fungus can take over an ant's nervous system affect your view of the sophistication of fungi and their reproductive strategies? Why or why not?
  2. Why is it useful for scientists to know how long a relationship between organisms has existed? How does this provide information about how species adapt to their environment?
  3. Why do you think the ants have not evolved to be immune to the fungus? What does this say about the differences between species and individuals?
  4. Why do you think researchers are interested in the species diversity of this type of fungus? What do they hope to learn to benefit humans? Why does the specific ecosystem this relationship is found in create a sense of urgency among some researchers?

Resources

These red wood ants are enjoying a more common relationship with fungi...they're eating it instead of being eaten

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