Metamorphosis & Ant Brood - Alex Wild Photography
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Young fungus-growing ant queens such as this Acromyrmex versicolorleave the established fungus gardens of their parent colonies to start new nests.  These queens carry with them a pellet of fungal inoculum in a small pouch in their mouthparts, and upon excavating a new nest they expel and fertilize the pellet, shown here with two freshly-laid ant eggs.

Tucson, Arizona, USA

Young fungus-growing ant queens such as this Acromyrmex versicolorleave the established fungus gardens of their parent colonies to start new nests. These queens carry with them a pellet of fungal inoculum in a small pouch in their mouthparts, and upon excavating a new nest they expel and fertilize the pellet, shown here with two freshly-laid ant eggs. Tucson, Arizona, USA

versicolorAcromyrmexattinimyrmicinaeformicidaeinsectsinsectfungusmutualismevolutionfungiecologynesteggsbroodentomologyqueen