Cultivated Fungus

The interaction between ants and the fungus symbiont has been a process dating back millions of years ago. Initially the fungus was in the strata where discarded leaves piled up. The first ants interacted with this were not leafcutter ants, but rather decaying plant material collected and delivered to their nests.

From there they continued to cultivate these discarded materials. These pre-owned farmers ants nests of a few hundred individuals, and cultivated mushrooms resembled more those of free life that the current symbiont dependent ants. The first major change in evolutionary history, which led to modern interaction between fungus and ants, occurred approximately 30 million years, where emerged 3 sets of mushroom cultivation. In one such place it gave the appearance of mushroom farming process based on short leaves, where zompopas are located. Fungus growers belong to the tribe of the attinidos, important group comprising more than 230 ant species that depend on the culture of the fungus to survive. This group includes the zompopas.  Although all attinidos derived from a single ancestor species that grow there are different lineages or lines of fungi. However it is pertinent to note that the ants, in terms of loss of fungus can adopt fungal colonies neighboring lines. Most of these fungal symbionts belong to the family Lepiotaceae (Agaricales, subdivision Basidiomycota). For attinidos cultivated fungus acts as a primary food source for the colony. This is maintained by a process that includes subscriber using plant substrate, ant droppings, dead insects or seeds. The fungus is spread vertically, transferring a piece of the fungus colony of the mother to offspring colonies. Queens perform this process, placing a piece of fungus in its jaws and bringing him to found a new colony. The attinidos are divided into two groups, children and the elderly. These first are considered less divergent, which share characteristics with the ants mushroom cultivators which they evolved. These cultivated mushrooms that have been recently "domesticated". In some cases this process occurs for a few generations and requires a subsequent repetition of the cycle. Older attinidos on the other hand, where zompopas are included, whose early ancestors cultivated mushrooms are almost as old as the same zompopas, several million years, not known for certain how old are these clones. However, it is known that older attinidos keep fungus cultures as healthy as possible by the care provided by the colony. The zompopas and the fungus can be considered as partners of a long journey in time, where through its natural history intertwined have faced various obstacles, for which they cast their mutualism hand to beat. However, not only zompopas have relied on the fungus, but have also sought the help of other microorganisms to optimize the conditions of the colony, and successfully survive.