Are humans the only animals that keep livestock?
If the best guess of biologists proves toe be true, the answer is a surprising ‘no.’ We already know that ants practice a primitive form of agriculture - collecting leaf fragments to grow tasty fungus - and even cultivate aphids in order to ‘milk’ them of their honeydew, as seen in the above picture. However, an amazing discovery could mean that ants raise other insects for meat in a manner directly analogous to humans raising cattle. Melissotarsus ants share their colonies with ‘scale insects’ that neither secrete milk nor have an edible outer covering. Therefore, scientists suggest that the ants raise the scale insects explicitly in order to eat them, potentially the best example of true domestication outside of humans and crops. The ants are highly secretive, so the carnivorous activity hasn’t been directly observed yet. Even still, this finding offers a tantalizing example of the amazing spectrum of nature’s animal behavior.
This is totally happening on a tree in my backyard. I have ant farmers!