Sunday Afternoon Talks: Leafcutter Ants
Sunday April 23, 2017
2:00 PM until 3:00 PM
Dr. Barbara Beitch’s observations of ant behavior in the Discovery Room’s leafcutter colony, as well as numerous queries from visitors about these intriguing social insects, have led her to look for answers to such questions as what determines which caste member will develop from each fertilized egg, what do the ants do with all those leaves, where is the queen, why sometimes one sees a little ant hitching a ride on a leaf carried by another ant, what can we infer from the possibility that leafcutter ants are the most ancient agronomists in the world, and why do the ants have a garbage dump and a cemetery.
In this presentation, Barbara will be sharing what she has learned about leafcutter ants and other highly organized “eusocial” species, about genetic and environmental factors that shape leafcutter caste determination, and about the ecology of leafcutter ants—their symbiotic relationship with fungi and their ecological niche in the rainforest.
Free and open to the public!
This program has been rescheduled from its original date of February 12, 2017.
Location: Lovell Room
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