Aphenogaster barbigula

Fungus growers of genus that are not Atta or Acromyrmex. If you like them, keep them or want to talk about them, post here.
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Aphenogaster barbigula

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:14 pm

Link: http://www.aqob.com.au/details.php?p_id=698

Invertebrates also play a role as a 25 year long study shows.
The amount of soils that ants move to the surface in order to make their nests varies according to how much rain falls; the more rain, the more soil. The funnel ant, Aphenogaster barbigula digs a hole the size of a 20 cent coin on which is built a volcano-like funnel. There would be some 16-20 of these funnel-like nest entrances per metre of semi-arid ground. After it rains the ants bring soil to the surface, thereby ensuring that the soil is not layered but has a very uniform profile.

These ants also take leaf litter down to fungi growing on the roots of cypress pine trees. The ants then eat the metabolites that the fungi produce, a fine display of symbiosis. When it rains, leaf litter backs up against the sides of the funnels and, because the ants are continually bringing soil to the surface, a mixture of litter and soil results, which again has a carbon content double that of areas where there are no ant nests.

These ants move up to 10 tonnes of soil per hectare per year, which promotes the mix of carbon and nutrients. That certainly makes for more fertile ground.


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