Matriarch Madness: Mechanism of Social Parasitism and Colony Takeover in Ants

Carpenter ants play an important role in an ecosystem; they break down wood into smaller pieces that will ultimately become part of the soil. But a parasitic ant can rapidly take over and destroy a colony by simply disguising herself through chemical means.

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Why don’t cowbirds feed their chicks?

The brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater), a native of North America, doesn’t build a nest. It also doesn’t feed its chicks, stick around for their first flight, or comfort them during storms. How can a bird species survive when it doesn’t care for its young? The answer involves covert egg-laying, chick sabotage, and the unwitting generosity of other songbirds.

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