European fire ants tending aphids

European fire ants tending aphids

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Credit: DR. JOHN BRACKENBURY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: European fire ants tending aphids on a plant stem. European fire ants (Myrmica rubra), like many ants, live on a diet of honeydew excreted by aphids (superfamily Aphidoidea). As a result they form a symbiotic relationship, whereby the ants feed on the honeydew from the aphids and in return they protect the aphids and their eggs. Honeydew is a sugary substance excreted by the aphids as they feed on the sap from a plant's stem. Photographed in the UK, in July.

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Keywords: animal, animal behaviour, ant, ants, aphid, aphidoidea, aphids, arthropod, arthropods, biological, biology, black background, britain, british, common fire ant, entomological, entomology, europe, european, european fire ant, excreta, fauna, food, honeydew, insect, insects, invertebrate, invertebrates, july, myrmica rubra, nature, plant, protecting, stem, summer, symbiont, symbionts, symbiosis, symbiote, symbiotes, symbiotic relationship, tending, uk, united kingdom, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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