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First evidence of an intimate symbiotic association between fungi and larvae in basal attine ants
Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)
The most conspicuous ants in all of tropical America are those that belong to the tribe Attini which cultivate fungus. The objective of the present study is to verify the alterations that occur in the cuticle of the worker larvae from Myrmicocrypta, Mycetarotes and Trachymyrmex with the purpose of trying to establish the degree of this association. Attine ants from the Atta genus were used as a control group. The analysis of histological sections showed results about the distribution of the cells and tissues on the epidermis of A. sexdens rubropilosa ant larvae and Mycetarotes parallelus, Trachymyrmex fuscus and Myrmicocrypta sp. A cuticle covering the ants was observed in the larvae of all the species, and this is formed by a simple cubic epithelium, whose cells possibly change its shape to prismatic, depending on their secretory activity. Just under this epithelium large adipose cells with reserve granules in their cytoplasm were found. The presence of a space filled by granulose and acellular material was also observed, indicating that the larvae were in a molt period. The presence of fungal hyphae is observed both on the external side of the basal attine larvae as well as emitting projections to the interior of the cuticle reaching the epithelium and the adipocyte cells. Data obtained in the present study demonstrated that the fungus deposited on the surface of immature ants from attine basal species maintain a close relationship with them, once the fungus hyphae have the ability to disorganize the cuticle lamellas, penetrating the interior of the insect cells through the emission of prolongations transporting the cuticle and epithelium barriers and making substances exchanges between larvae and fungus. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Issue Date: 
Micron. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V. Ltd, v. 43, n. 2-3, p. 263-268, 2012.
Time Duration: 
Pergamon-Elsevier B.V. Ltd
  • Ant
  • Attini
  • Larvae
  • Cuticle
  • Histology
  • Fungus
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Appears in Collections:Artigos, TCCs, Teses e Dissertações da Unesp

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