Home Science Life-extending parasite makes ants live at least three times longer

Life-extending parasite makes ants live at least three times longer

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Life-extending parasite makes ants live at least three times longer


Temnothorax nylanderi ants may benefit from a tapeworm infection

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Ants infected with a tapeworm live several times longer than usual. Exactly how the parasite extends the life of its host is unclear, but a cocktail of proteins it releases may provide some clues.

The parasite is a tapeworm called Anomotaenia brevis whose main hosts are several types of woodpecker. Ants of the species Temnothorax nylanderi sometimes collect woodpecker faeces and take them back to the nest to feed to larvae. If there are tapeworm eggs in the faeces, they hatch …



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