Alex Wild on insects, science, and photography
Here’s an image from Belize:
Why do you suppose I found this scene interesting enough to photograph?
(the answer is over in the right sidebar, if you hunt around for it among the new image uploads)
Posted in: fun, Mysteries.
That’s a plant that has ants living in it, and they tend to kill protect their home by killing vines and herbaceous insects. The fact that the vine tendril is so coiled suggests that no ants live in the plant.
ants. The answer is always ‘ants.’
even when it is contained the the word pl’ants’ !
is there anything ants can not do ?
The ants have somehow managed to get a rotary phone in their nest.
Hmm looks like a bullthorn acacia minus its Pseudomyrmex guests, which is allowing the tendril to get a foothold.
Looking closely at one of the thorns shows the entrance the ants would use to access the inside of the thorn.
To comment on another plant in the picture, it was recently discovered that these plant tendrils represent a new type of spring that was unknown to humans. They have a similar shape as a telephone cord, but they display an interesting property. When you tug on either end of a telephone cord it eventually flattens out, but if you pull on either end of these plant tendrils they actually wind tighter. Here’s the link:
What is interesting is not just the bullhorn acacia (and ant-plant symbiosis) but that this little tendril hasn’t been destroyed by the Pseudomyrmex yet!
Answers has already been posted on “Recent images”~LOL.
[...] the more clever among you surmised, Wednesday’s mystery photo depicted an ant-acacia without a large colony of protective ants strung up with vines. Another [...]
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A personal blog by Illinois-based biologist and photographer Alex Wild.
Myrmecos- derived from the ancient greek word for "ant"- hosts Alex's musings about these and other little creatures that share our planet.
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