Ant harvesting aphids

Ant harvesting aphids

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Credit: GEORGE LEPP/AGSTOCKUSA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ant herding aphids. Common garden ant (Lasius niger) herding aphids (superfamily Aphidoidea). This species of ant has a symbiotic relationship with aphids. Aphids suck the sap of plants, which is very rich in sugar. Excess sugar is excreted as honeydew, which L. niger feeds on. These ants have discovered that they can get a supply whenever needed by tapping an aphid with an antennae. The ants herd aphids onto sap-rich plants and collect honeydew to feed themselves and to take back to others in the ant nest. In return, the ants care for and protect the aphids and their eggs. However, if an aphid's production is too slow, it will be taken to the ant nest and eaten.

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Keywords: animal, aphid, aphidoidea, aphids, arthropod, arthropoda, biological, biology, black ant, common garden ant, excreta, fauna, food, herding, honeydew, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, lasius niger, leaf, nature, plant, symbiont, symbionts, symbiosis, symbiotic, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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