Black aphid colony. Coloured scanning electron micrograph of a colony of black aphid (Aphis sp.) feeding on a plant shoot. Aphids feed off the sugary sap of plant stems and leaves by inserting their tube-like stylets into the plant's veins. This can cause the leaves to yellow, wilt and finally die. Aphids excrete sweet waste fluids (honeydew) which is sometimes collected as food by ants, and the ants protect them from predators such as ladybirds. Aphids are serious plant pests of certain crops, flowers and houseplants. Magnification: x15 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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