Ants tending a treehopper bug on a plant

Ants tending a treehopper bug on a plant

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Credit: SINCLAIR STAMMERS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ants tending a treehopper (order Hemiptera) bug on a plant. Ants (family Formicidae) occasionally tend Hemipteran bugs in order to milk them for liquid food. This treehopper excretes a sugary waste product called honeydew. Ants collect the honeydew as a food resource, and treehoppers benefit both directly (e.g. feeding facilitation) and indirectly (e.g. protection from predators). Photographed in Ecuador.

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Keywords: animal, animal behaviour, ant, ants, arthropod, biological, biology, bug, ecuador, ecuadorean, ecuadorian, entomological, entomology, fauna, food, formicidae, hemiptera, hemipteran, honeydew, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, milking, mutualist, mutualistic, mutualists, myrmecology, nature, phloem feeding, plant, rain forest, rainforest, resource, south america, south american, stem, symbiont, symbionts, symbiosis, symbiote, symbiotes, symbiotic, tend, tending, treehopper, true bug, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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