The nests of fungus-growing ants avoid flood damage and create uniform microclimates via necklace-like or tree-like architecture.


"Both species built their nests in two different ways. The first type possessed a 'tree-like' architecture, in which a vertical tunnel led downwards and lateral tunnels branched off at 90° angles from the main tunnel, with a chamber at the end of each side branch. Alternatively, other nests displayed a 'necklace-like' architecture, where the main tunnel also led down vertically, but entered each chamber from the top and exited it at the bottom, resulting in an architecture where chambers appeared like pearls on a necklace…Fungus gardens were suspended from the ceiling of the subterranean chambers and originated as small mycelial tufts. Through continual addition of organic debris, the tufts first grew vertically to strands before they expanded laterally until most of the chamber volume was filled with fungus garden curtains." (Rabeling et al. 2007:1)

Journal article
Comparative Study of Nest Architecture and Colony Structure of the Fungus-Growing Ants, Mycocepurus goeldii and M. smithiiJournal of Insect ScienceJune 13, 2009
C. Rabeling, M. Verhaagh, W. Engels

Living System/s

Mycocepurus goeldiiSpecies