False-colour SEM of black garden ant

False-colour SEM of black garden ant

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: False-colour scanning electron micrograph of the black garden ant, Lasius niger. The species lives under flat garden stones, & feeds on caterpillars, earwigs, woodlice & other ants. It has a close relationship with Aphis fabae, the broad bean aphid, which it strokes with its antennae to make the aphid emit a drop of honeydew, nourishment for the ant. In return, the ant protects the aphid by removing eggs of predators such as ladybirds & lacewings. It is a formicine ant, which means that it squirts a jet of corrosive formic acid at attackers. The specimen is an infertile female worker. Magnification: x10 at 35mm size. Gold tint. Reference: MICROCOSMOS, figure 3.21, page 54.

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Keywords: animal, black garden ant, false-coloured, formicine ant, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, lasius niger, milker, nature, wildlife, zoology

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