Bark beetles against pathogenic fungi, Ants and bees share hives of hundreds or thousands of individuals in the smallest space. Therefore, the risk is high so that infectious diseases can spread quickly. To reduce this risk, animals have developed special social behaviors known as social immunity protection.
It is generally believed that this performance only develops on eusocial insects, including ants, bees, and wasps. The finding that even more primitive social beetles eliminate pathogens from ragweed by cleaning up suggests that social immunity may have developed much earlier.
Ambrosia beetles live in galleries dug out of wood, and the role of group members is not strictly defined as in bees and ant colonies. Workers can decide for themselves whether they want to help their mothers with caring for their farms and growing mushrooms or prefer to emigrate and build their nests. Ragweed beetles are the intermediate stage between insects that live alone and socially in the evolution of social behavior.
Our experiments show that protection against pathogens can be an important factor in the development of social behavior, according to researchers. When scientists sprayed pathogenic Aspergillus fungus spores into beetle nests, workers showed better nest cleaning.
Beetles are also more likely to serve people in fungi-filled nests: they stay in the nest longer to care for nurses, according to a researcher. In the next step, the researchers wanted to investigate whether the saliva of the ragweed beetle could contain antibiotics that killed the Aspergillus fungus spores. It remains to investigate how beetles can prevent the development of resistance in pathogenic fungi.
Ambrosia beetles included in the bark, which is generally not popular in the forestry sector because of the possibility of economic damage.
Several thousand of their species are common throughout the world. The Ambrosia beetle infects a dying or recently dead tree and processes it at its core. Beetles attracted to the alcohol from these trees. They drilled the gallery into stems and planted ragweed mushrooms. This fungus serves as food for them and their larvae.