Acacia and Ant Symbiosis

Acacia and Ant Symbiosis

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Credit: MARTIN SHIELDS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Bullhorn Acacia (Acacia sp.) tree showing thorns that are hollow to provide a home for ants with which it has a symbiotic relationship. The thorns provide shelter for the stinging ants which in turn protect the plant from attack by herbivorous invertebrates and mammals. The Acacia plants also make food for the ants by providing nectar and fat rich granules, called Beltian Bodies. Carara National Park, Costa Rica.

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Keywords: acacia, acacia sp., acacieae, animal, ant, arthropod, bull horn acacia, bullhorn acacia, bullthorn acacia, carara, carara national park, central america flora, central american flora, costa rica wildlife, costa rican wildlife, fabaceae, fauna, flora, habitat, hollow thorn, hymenoptera, hymenopteran, insect, interdependency, mutualism, mutualistic, neotropical, neotropics, plant, rain forest flora, rainforest flora, shelter, stinging ant, swollen-thorn acacia, symbiosis, symbiotic, symbiotic relationship, tree, tropical, wildlife

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