A group of Amazonian ants have evolved an extremely unusual social system: They are all female and reproduce via cloning. Though their sexual organs have virtually disappeared, they have also gained some extraordinary abilities.
University of Arizona biologist Anna Himler orginally began studying the ants, called Mycocepurus smithii, because they had incredible success as farmers. Many breeds of ant keep domesticated “farms” where they breed various kinds of fungus for nourishment. But Mycocepurus smithii was able to breed fungus far more successfully, and in greater varieties, than other ants Himler had encountered.
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