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Aphid Herding - Formica subsericea

Aphid Herding - Formica subsericea
Thornton, New Hampshire, USA
August 10, 2007
What are these ants doing with the aphids? It doesn't look like they are trying to eat them.

Moved from Ants.

Formicinae: Formica
Formica subsericea, a common eastern species in this genus.

Aphid FARMING, actually!
Aphids need protection, and ants provide it. Aphids will exude little droplets of sugar from the plant they are feeding on. The ants will come by, gobble it up and pass it on in the colony. The aphids give the ants some sugar, and the ants protect the aphids and their little 'candy' factory! Many insects find aphids to be tasty little snacks, and the ants ward them off. They also will tend to the aphids. Very fascinating. There are many examples of symbiotic relationships between insects in nature. Some tropical caterpillars do the same thing for ants to protect them.

Thank you, that was very interesting.

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