Ants and aphids: interaction with each other

What is the peculiarity of the interaction of aphids with ants? What benefit do these insects get from each other - now we find out ...

Ants are the most highly organized insects. Curious is their way of getting food. The fact is that the aphid is a supplier of nutrients for ants. This is a very vulnerable creature. Its size is small, the body does not have a strong protective cover, nature did not endow the aphids with powerful means of self-defense. The aphid itself eats juice, which sucks from different plants, but this juice is often much more than necessary. Excess juice is released from the body of the aphids as sweet drops, which are called paddy.

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Ants are very fond of taking the pad as food. To get it from aphids, just tickle the aphids. Aphid prudently settles near the anthill, since there she will be provided with protection from predators.

Ants and aphids.

A mutually beneficial alliance between aphids and ants is very reminiscent of people's attitudes towards livestock. But this is only at first glance. Indeed, sometimes one can observe a cluster of aphids surrounded by ants, and this, however, is very similar to a pasture, a herd and shepherds. But actually aphids tend to feed in the company of their own kind, and a significant amount of them can accumulate near an abundant food source. And the ants in search of the paddy are selected closer to such a herd. At times, one can observe an ant grabbing aphids. But in this case he has hardly good intentions: sometimes ants eat not only the sweet pad, but also its source itself.

What is the peculiarity of the symbiosis between ants and aphids?

Some ant actions against aphids really resemble care. For example, it is often noticed that ants erect barriers of sand or plant particles around aphids. These barriers resemble human cattle pens. But the fact is that the habits of an ant include the habit of protecting any food from outside interference and encroachment. It may not necessarily be living aphids, but also some dead insect, or even an inanimate object - a piece of sugar or a crumb of bread. So the purpose of these "corrals" or corrals is not to breed aphids in them, but simply to protect any edible object from others who want to feast on them. It is unlikely that their creators understand that they are improving the living conditions of other creatures.

The ant drove out aphids for grazing.

In general, ants have no special relationship with aphids. Their behavior with each other looks approximately the same. They communicate with each other by touching the antennae and exchanging fluids. To transfer each other and their own larvae from place to place is also a custom among ants. Ants are also capable of caring for their offspring.

Due to aphids, ants feed.

True, some species of ants went further in their development than others: they learned how to stockpile the sweet liquid obtained from aphids. Moreover, the method of storage of this liquid is very peculiar. For some individuals, the most vital task is to collect the sweet liquid. Not only the paddy is involved, but also sugary secretions from various plants.

Aphid.

And the ants store sweet supplies right inside their body. As a result of many years of development, these ants have extremely grown goiter. All ants have this part of the body, but for those who are designed to store liquid, goiter is capable of holding a significant amount of it. The abdomen of the ant is inflated in such a way that it can hardly move. He also does not leave his mink in the anthill. But during a drought and other disasters, the rest of the ant community can feed on the contents of their living tanks and thus survive a difficult time.

Watch the video: Ants and aphids: a mutualistic relationship (February 2020).

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