Brief Summary

Pseudonocardia are part of a family of bacteria that make antibiotics. People use antibiotics from these bacteria¬—and so do ants. Leaf-cutter ants farm fungus by feeding it leaves. But a pest called Escovopsis attacks the crops. Luckily, Pseudonocardia grow in the ants’ bodies. Antibiotics from the bacteria stop the pest. This keeps the ants’ food safe.

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© Sebastian Velvez

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Pseudonocardia is the type genus of the bacteria family Pseudonocardiaceae. Members of this genus have been found living mutualistically on the cuticle of the leafcutter ants.[2] The bacteria may also be found in crypts on the propleural plate.



  1. ^ Pseudonocardiaceae on www.bacterio.cict.fr
  2. ^ Symbiont recognition of mutualistic bacteria by Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants, Zhang, M.M., Poulsen, M. and Currie, C.R. (2007), International Society for Microbial Ecology, 1:313-320
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