Ants of the Fiji Islands grow plants from millions of years ago, long before man started to deal with agriculture, according to a study published in the online edition of the British journal Nature.
A group of experts from the University of Munich (Germany) performed an evolutionary analysis of the behavior of ants, actively sowing plants inhabit then for protection. The publication notes that several animal species, such as leafcutter ants called or bees cultivating fungi have developed mutually beneficial relationships where these species grow other organisms.
In the study, experts Chomicki Guillaume and Susanne Renner, of that German University show that ants Philidris calls nagasau, found in the Fiji Islands, actively cultivate at least six species of plants Squamellaria. These plants are those that grow above the ground on other plants or trees, which use as a backup, and have no access to land for nutrients. They found that the insects gather seeds collected from the fruits of plants and inserted into the cracks that form in the trees.
These seeds are chambers that ants constantly visit and where also defecate to fertilize the young plant and help it grow, although this does not have access to land there under the tree. Thus, the cameras grow and offer shelter space colonies of ants that inhabit them. Researchers saw throughout this process that ants and plants are interdependent and that some can not survive without the other. In the study, the authors reconstructed the evolutionary history of both ants and plants to conclude that this behavior came about three million years ago by the so-called “coevolution” a phenomenon of mutual evolutionary adaptation between various species of living beings as result of their mutual influence.