Ants and Aphids

Yesterday I came across some ants tending aphids.

I am pretty sure the ant is Formica exsectoides,  the Allegheny mound ant.  I don’t know the aphid–I am pretty sure microscopic examination would be required to identify it.

There is a mutualistic relationship between the ants and the aphids–aphids providing food and ants providing protection.  I also found some “ant mummies”–the remains of aphids that are involuntarily providing food for some wasp larva.

 

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in ants, formica exsectoides, insects and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ants and Aphids

  1. Mike Powell says:

    Wow! I’ve heard about this relationship but had never seen it illustrated in photos. I think it’s best to describe the relationship using the term from Facebook, “it’s complicated.”

  2. Pingback: Trophallaxis: When Ants Kissed. « the unbearable lightness of being me.

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