Ant Acacia

photograph © Alex Wild 2007

Young leaves of the Central American swollen-thorn Acacia support protein-rich beltian bodies, seen here as the yellow cones on the leaflet tips. These bodies are used to feed the larvae of the aggressive Pseudomyrmex acacia ants that inhabit the tree and protect it from herbivores and from competing plants.

Panamá, Chiriquí.: 3.5k ENE Caldera
08º39.53'N 82º20.94'W 300m. 2.viii.2007
Riparian forest, ants on swollen-thorn Acacia sp.
#AW2928, voucher specimens deposited at ALWC.

This image is copyrighted by the photographer and cannot be used without permission. To obtain permission to use this image, please email Alex Wild. (alwild (at)  Most of the photographs on are reduced from their original size and compressed for more efficient web transmission.  In some cases, higher quality versions are available.

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 20D, using a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens.