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.



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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