The First Agriculture – Fungus Farming Ants by Charles Pryor


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As a process of opening up the garden to interventions or alterations to the Mycological Twist’s structure, an open call has been launched in the summer of 2015.
No fixed limitation was set to the open call, except an understanding of the gardens methodology and a connection with the season the project will be proposed for.
Charles Pryor is the first of the two projects being realized in the garden. Rather challenging for UK’s climate, Charles proposed the introduction of a tropical leafcutter ant colony that will feed itself on a ball of fungus.

The First Agriculture – Fungus Farming Ants

(F) is the foraging caste out searching for fresh vegetation

(W) is the worker’s caste who tenderly compost the leaves to promote  fungi growth.

(S) is the solider caste at home tendering to the queen and protecting the colony from intruders.

(Q) is the queen, stable and statuary-laying eggs buried deep within the Fungi garden.

(F) makes their way through the thick luscious tropics in search for leaves.

Slicing them with great precision they carry this vegetation back to the nest.

(W) is hard at work chewing the arrival of leaves down to a fine pulp while fertilizing it with faecal matter; in turn this pulp forms a nutritious substrate for the fungus to grow on deep within the fungus garden. It is this Fungus that feeds the colony.

Deeper below the nest a chamber leads to a composting graveyard.

(W) Notices a few dead workers and picks up on an external fungus, this is a potential threat to the fungi which needs to be cultivated. Without hesitance the worker caste remove the dead bodies and external fungus from the nest to avoid contamination and disease.

(W) diligently place both among a growing mound of debris. This large compost pile quickly breaks down and feeds its way into the soil system contributing and propagating new organic life within the soil-litter system.

(S) The Queens Guards stand strong surrounding the master, a spider has come to visit their nest, quickly and fearlessly a swarm of solider ants scatter up the colony’s chambers to the entrance of the nest. (S) swarms the spider biting it with determination, breaking it down till it drops dead. The burglar alarm is silenced, (S) retreats back to the colony.