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European fire ants tending aphids

European fire ants tending aphids

C013/3827

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Credit

DR. JOHN BRACKENBURY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY 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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