Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ant Farming II

Some species of ants have a symbiotic relationship with aphids.  In exchange for protection from the ants, the aphids allow the ants to "milk" them for the sap they produce from eating plants.  Scientists in England recently discovered the ants control the aphids using a chemical in their feet.  I also witnessed the ants "milking" the aphids with their antennae.  The aphids were of more than one species.

Think about what has to take place in establishing a "farm."  The ant has to not only communicate it's desire to have the aphid work for it, but also has to be able to direct them to the plant it wants farmed.  It also has to some way ensure that the aphid will not just fly off on it's own.  Its all pretty amazing what takes place under our feet without us even being aware of it.

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