CLOUDS HILL IMAGING LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLOUDS HILL IMAGING LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Black garden ant. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the head of a black garden ant (Lasius niger). Its long antennae, compound eye, jaws and segmented sensory palps can be seen. This species lives under stones at the edges of lawns and paths, feeding on caterpillars, earwigs, woodlice and other ants. It has a close relationship with Aphis fabae, the broad bean aphid, which it strokes with its antennae to make it discharge a drop of honeydew, additional nourishment for the ant. In return, the ant protects the aphid by removing nearby eggs of predators such as ladybirds and lacewings. It is a formicine ant, which means that it squirts a jet of corrosive formic acid at attackers. Magnification: x40 when printed at 10 centimetres.
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