Thursday, 30 June 2011

Farming

The Pyracantha in our back garden has - like so many plants at this time of year - a great many Greenfly attached to it's new shoots.  These diminutive insects are constantly being tended to by the Black Ants.
The ants 'Farm' the aphids, tending to them and chasing off any other animal which might threaten them - including me as I tried to photograph them.
The ants are not doing this for purely unselfish reasons.  The aphids, as a result of their sucking sap from plants, produce a sweet, liquid from their rear-ends, known as Honey-dew.  The ants find this liquid very tasty and feed on it.  Thus, the relationship is a symbiotic one.  Fun and fascinating to watch though.
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