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Myrmecophily (Ant Love) (62) More files...
Myrmecophily translates directly to "ant love" in latin - this is the term applied to positive interspecies associations between ants and a variety of other organisms, such as plants and other insects. You may have heard about ants protecting aphids and scale insects in exchange for nutrients in the form of honeydew, a sugary fluid excreted by many insects. Ant woodlice keep nests clean by feeding on droppings and rove beetles mimic the pheromones of their ant hosts to share their nest in harmony.

Do you know that some plants grow specific high-energy 'Beltian bodies' at the tips of their leaves for resident ants to feed upon? Take a look at ants feeding these carrot-like growths to their young. In return these insects protect the plant from intruding vines and by destroying insect eggs laid on the leaves which would produce damaging pests. In addition, the waste left behind by the ants provides nutrients to the plant. It's a win-win situation, what's not to love?
Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) gathers carrot-like growths from Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia for delivery to larva in nest, in return for baby food Ant protects Acacia, Costa Rica  -  Mark Moffett
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00129364 Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) gathers carrot-like growths from Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia for delivery to larva in nest, in return for baby food Ant protects Acacia, Costa Rica© Mark Moffett
Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) feeds larvae carrot-like growth from host Acacia  -  Mark Moffett
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00129367 Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) feeds larvae carrot-like growth from host Acacia© Mark Moffett
Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) feeds larvae carrot-like growth from host Acacia  -  Mark Moffett
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00129368 Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) feeds larvae carrot-like growth from host Acacia© Mark Moffett
Ant (Meranoplus mucronatus) workers guarding planthopper nymphs, from which they take secreted honeydew, Deramakot Forest Reserve, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
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00642942 Ant (Meranoplus mucronatus) workers guarding planthopper nymphs, from which they take secreted honeydew, Deramakot Forest Reserve, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia© Ch'ien Lee
Giant Forest Ant (Camponotus gigas) tending to Fulgorid Planthopper (Scamandra polychroma) for honeydew secretions, Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo, Malaysia  -  Ch'ien Lee
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00519011 Giant Forest Ant (Camponotus gigas) tending to Fulgorid Planthopper (Scamandra polychroma) for honeydew secretions, Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo, Malaysia© Chien Lee
Rove Beetle (Staphylinidae) is tolerated by Army Ants (Eciton hamatum) by mimicking their chemical signals, Costa Rica  -  Piotr Naskrecki
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00298231 Rove Beetle (Staphylinidae) is tolerated by Army Ants (Eciton hamatum) by mimicking their chemical signals, Costa Rica© Piotr Naskrecki
Ant Woodlouse (Platyarthrus hoffmannseggi) adult, with Yellow Meadow Ant (Lasius flavus) adult workers, in nest, Powys, Wales, May  -  Richard Becker / FLPA
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80190082 Ant Woodlouse (Platyarthrus hoffmannseggi) adult, with Yellow Meadow Ant (Lasius flavus) adult workers, in nest, Powys, Wales, May© Richard Becker / FLPA
Ant (Polyrhachis rufipes) harvesting honeydew from Leafhopper (Cicadellidae), Gunung Leuser National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia
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00571917 Ant (Polyrhachis rufipes) harvesting honeydew from Leafhopper (Cicadellidae), Gunung Leuser National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia© Paul Bertner
Ant (Philidris sp) nursery thriving around slender white leaf roots of a (Dischidia major) which draw nourishment from insect parts collected by ants, Bako, Borneo  -  Mark Moffett
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00129315 Ant (Philidris sp) nursery thriving around slender white leaf roots of a (Dischidia major) which draw nourishment from insect parts collected by ants, Bako, Borneo© Mark Moffett
Treehopper (Membracidae) guarded by Ant (Formicidae), Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar
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00585029 Treehopper (Membracidae) guarded by Ant (Formicidae), Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar© Paul Bertner
Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) pair guarding Scale Insects (Tachardina aurantiaca), Christmas Island National Park, Christmas Island, Australia  -  Stephen Belcher
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00487015 Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) pair guarding Scale Insects (Tachardina aurantiaca), Christmas Island National Park, Christmas Island, Australia© Stephen Belcher
Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) ripping up vine that disturbs its host Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia tree, Guanacaste, Costa Rica  -  Mark Moffett
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00129356 Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) ripping up vine that disturbs its host Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia tree, Guanacaste, Costa Rica© Mark Moffett
Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) ripping up vine that disturbs its host Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia tree, Costa Rica  -  Mark Moffett
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00129357 Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) ripping up vine that disturbs its host Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia tree, Costa Rica© Mark Moffett
Ant (Formicidae) pair protecting Aphids (Aphis sp) which in turn produce honeydew that ants eat, Bavaria, Germany  -  Konrad Wothe
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00465669 Ant (Formicidae) pair protecting Aphids (Aphis sp) which in turn produce honeydew that ants eat, Bavaria, Germany© Konrad Wothe
Ponerine Ant (Ectatomma tuberculatum) guarding Treehopper (Adippe sp), western slope of Andes  -  Murray Cooper
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00443216 Ponerine Ant (Ectatomma tuberculatum) guarding Treehopper (Adippe sp), western slope of Andes© Murray Cooper
Acacia Ant (Pseudomyrmex flavicornis) collecting beltian bodies from young leaves of Acacia to feed their larvae, Costa Rica  -  Piotr Naskrecki
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00298403 Acacia Ant (Pseudomyrmex flavicornis) collecting beltian bodies from young leaves of Acacia to feed their larvae, Costa Rica© Piotr Naskrecki
Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) group drink nectar from Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia tree and protect the tree from leaf eating enemies ensuring mutual survival, Costa Rica  -  Mark Moffett
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00129351 Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) group drink nectar from Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia tree and protect the tree from leaf eating enemies ensuring mutual survival, Costa Rica© Mark Moffett
Ant (Pheidole sp) group lives in pockets on leaves of Melastoma (Maieta sp) shrubs One chamber serves as a nursery and one chamber for refuse which acts as plant fertilizer  -  Mark Moffett
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00129155 Ant (Pheidole sp) group lives in pockets on leaves of Melastoma (Maieta sp) shrubs One chamber serves as a nursery and one chamber for refuse which acts as plant fertilizer© Mark Moffett
Ant (Crematogaster sp) pair tending to scale insects, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique
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00585886 Ant (Crematogaster sp) pair tending to scale insects, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique© Piotr Naskrecki
Ant (Crematogaster sp) drinking nectar from plant, Manu, Peru  -  Mark Moffett
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00129268 Ant (Crematogaster sp) drinking nectar from plant, Manu, Peru© Mark Moffett
Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), an invasive species, receiving nutrition from scale insects, Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, Territory of Australia  -  Ingo Arndt
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00442476 Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), an invasive species, receiving nutrition from scale insects, Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, Territory of Australia© Ingo Arndt
Ant (Philidris sp) group feeding on the oily orange spores of a host fern The ants live in the fern's stem, where they gather nutrient rich debris to create compost for the fern, Borneo  -  Mark Moffett
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00129311 Ant (Philidris sp) group feeding on the oily orange spores of a host fern The ants live in the fern's stem, where they gather nutrient rich debris to create compost for the fern, Borneo© Mark Moffett
Ant (Formicidae) colony living in Ant Plant (Hydnophytum sp), Bako National Park, Borneo  -  Mark Moffett
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00129320 Ant (Formicidae) colony living in Ant Plant (Hydnophytum sp), Bako National Park, Borneo© Mark Moffett
Macaranga (Macaranga sp) plant stipules, which provide globules of fat for ants living inside its interior  -  Mark Moffett
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00129426 Macaranga (Macaranga sp) plant stipules, which provide globules of fat for ants living inside its interior© Mark Moffett
Ant Plant (Hydnophytum sp) caudex with cross-section showing smooth-walled chambers that provide home for ants which leave behind their nutrient-rich waste products, Papua New Guinea, composite image  -  Piotr Naskrecki
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00477076 Ant Plant (Hydnophytum sp) caudex with cross-section showing smooth-walled chambers that provide home for ants which leave behind their nutrient-rich waste products, Papua New Guinea, composite image© Piotr Naskrecki
Green Tree Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) pair guarding Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae), Angkor Wat, Cambodia
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00572550 Green Tree Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) pair guarding Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae), Angkor Wat, Cambodia© Paul Bertner
Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) pair collecting beltian bodies from plant for food, dry forest, Guanacaste, Costa Rica  -  Michael & Patricia Fogden
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00510992 Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) pair collecting beltian bodies from plant for food, dry forest, Guanacaste, Costa Rica© Michael & Patricia Fogden
Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) group guarding Scale Insects (Tachardina aurantiaca), Christmas Island National Park, Christmas Island, Australia  -  Stephen Belcher
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00487048 Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) group guarding Scale Insects (Tachardina aurantiaca), Christmas Island National Park, Christmas Island, Australia© Stephen Belcher
A millipede which lives as a guest in the colonies of a certain species of army ant. These milipedes are chemically camouflaged as army ants and migrate with the ants from place to place, Barro Colora...  -  Christian Ziegler
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00760177 A millipede which lives as a guest in the colonies of a certain species of army ant. These milipedes are chemically camouflaged as army ants and migrate with the ants from place to place, Barro Colora...© Christian Ziegler
Ponerine Ant (Ectatomma sp) gathering honeydew from treehopper, Taironaka Lodge, Colombia
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00579534 Ponerine Ant (Ectatomma sp) gathering honeydew from treehopper, Taironaka Lodge, Colombia© Paul Bertner
Giant Forest Ant (Camponotus gigas) group protecting Lanternflies (Pyrops cultellatus) in return for honeydew, Gunung Gading National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia
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00584613 Giant Forest Ant (Camponotus gigas) group protecting Lanternflies (Pyrops cultellatus) in return for honeydew, Gunung Gading National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia© Chien Lee
Ponerine Ant (Ectatomma sp) guarding Treehopper (Membracidae) nymphs as part of mutualistic relationship, Valle del Cauca, Colombia
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00585363 Ponerine Ant (Ectatomma sp) guarding Treehopper (Membracidae) nymphs as part of mutualistic relationship, Valle del Cauca, Colombia© Paul Bertner
Carpenter Ant (Camponotus sp) pair tending scale insects, Parana River, Argentina  -  Mark Moffett
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00463094 Carpenter Ant (Camponotus sp) pair tending scale insects, Parana River, Argentina© Mark Moffett
Ant (Crematogaster sp) group tending to scale insects, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique
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00585885 Ant (Crematogaster sp) group tending to scale insects, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique© Piotr Naskrecki
Ant (Crematogaster sp) protecting Treehoppers (Membracidae) in return for nectar, Tambopata Research Center, Peru
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00593818 Ant (Crematogaster sp) protecting Treehoppers (Membracidae) in return for nectar, Tambopata Research Center, Peru© Paul Bertner
Ant (Crematogaster sp) pair protecting Gossamer-winged Butterfly (Lycaenidae) caterpillar, Ponkapoag Bog, Massachusetts
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00586086 Ant (Crematogaster sp) pair protecting Gossamer-winged Butterfly (Lycaenidae) caterpillar, Ponkapoag Bog, Massachusetts© Piotr Naskrecki
Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) guarding Scale Insects (Tachardina aurantiaca), Christmas Island National Park, Christmas Island, Australia  -  Stephen Belcher
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00487047 Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) guarding Scale Insects (Tachardina aurantiaca), Christmas Island National Park, Christmas Island, Australia© Stephen Belcher
Red Wood Ant (Formica rufa) milking Black Bean Aphids (Aphis fabae), Netherlands  -  Wil Meinderts/ Buiten-beeld
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00536176 Red Wood Ant (Formica rufa) milking Black Bean Aphids (Aphis fabae), Netherlands© Wil Meinderts/ Buiten-beeld
Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) group drink nectar from Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia tree and protect the tree from leaf eating enemies ensuring mutual survival, Costa Rica  -  Mark Moffett
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00129143 Ant (Pseudomyrmex sp) group drink nectar from Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium) acacia tree and protect the tree from leaf eating enemies ensuring mutual survival, Costa Rica© Mark Moffett
Ant (Crematogaster sp) group tending Hairstreak Caterpillar, are attracted to liquid excreted from abdomen of Caterpillar, French Guiana  -  Mark Moffett
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00129252 Ant (Crematogaster sp) group tending Hairstreak Caterpillar, are attracted to liquid excreted from abdomen of Caterpillar, French Guiana© Mark Moffett
Ant (Crematogaster sp) group inside host plant Macaranga (Macaranga sp) and receive nutrition from scale insects kept inside plant  -  Mark Moffett
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00129428 Ant (Crematogaster sp) group inside host plant Macaranga (Macaranga sp) and receive nutrition from scale insects kept inside plant© Mark Moffett
Silverfish living in Acacia thorns with Acacia Ants  -  Mark Moffett
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00129371 Silverfish living in Acacia thorns with Acacia Ants© Mark Moffett
Weaver Ant (Oecophylla longinoda) tending scale insects on mango, Rio Kapatchez, Guinea  -  Piotr Naskrecki
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00427145 Weaver Ant (Oecophylla longinoda) tending scale insects on mango, Rio Kapatchez, Guinea© Piotr Naskrecki
Dinosaur Ant (Nothomyrmecia macrops) worker guarding scale insects that have exuded so much honeydew that they appear to be covered in sugar, Poochera, Australia  -  Mark Moffett
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00439787 Dinosaur Ant (Nothomyrmecia macrops) worker guarding scale insects that have exuded so much honeydew that they appear to be covered in sugar, Poochera, Australia© Mark Moffett
Treehopper (Tragopa sp) group being guarded by Ants (Formicidae), Amazon, Ecuador  -  Murray Cooper
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00443240 Treehopper (Tragopa sp) group being guarded by Ants (Formicidae), Amazon, Ecuador© Murray Cooper
Treehopper (Tragopa sp) group being guarded by Ants (Formicidae), Amazon, Ecuador  -  Murray Cooper
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00443241 Treehopper (Tragopa sp) group being guarded by Ants (Formicidae), Amazon, Ecuador© Murray Cooper
Treehopper (Membracidae) nymphs guarded by ants, Ecuador  -  Murray Cooper
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00443779 Treehopper (Membracidae) nymphs guarded by ants, Ecuador© Murray Cooper
Ant (Formicidae) guarding Treehopper (Enchenopa sp), Ecuador  -  Murray Cooper
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00443851 Ant (Formicidae) guarding Treehopper (Enchenopa sp), Ecuador© Murray Cooper
Treehopper (Erechtia sp) nymphs guarded by ants, Ecuador  -  Murray Cooper
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00443845 Treehopper (Erechtia sp) nymphs guarded by ants, Ecuador© Murray Cooper
Carpenter Ant (Camponotus sp) tending scale insects, Parana River, Argentina  -  Mark Moffett
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00463096 Carpenter Ant (Camponotus sp) tending scale insects, Parana River, Argentina© Mark Moffett
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