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Carnivorous plants employ bodyguard ants

Posted on Sunday, 13 May, 2012 | Comment icon 4 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: Wikipedia

Researchers have found a remarkable partnership between carnivorous pitcher plants and ants.

Situated in the peat swamp forests of Borneo, one species of pitcher plant has formed an unusual alliance with the insects. Swollen tendrils at the base of the plant and nectar secreted on its rim provide food and a home for the ants and in exchange the insects provide a host of services for the plant such as cleaning the pitcher to keep it slippery and attacking other insects that would otherwise try to munch on it.

"The symbiotic ants are shown to be crucial for the nutrition and survival of their host plant," said researcher Vincent Bazile.

"Carnivorous plants can have valuable allies in ants, benefiting from their poop and janitor, bodyguard and cutthroat services, researchers say."

  View: Full article |  Source: Yahoo! News

  Discuss: View comments (4)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Robbie333 on 11 May, 2012, 22:32 Once again, nature surprises me. The symbiod relationship some animals have with each other is amazing. I love nature.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Offeiriad on 11 May, 2012, 22:39
Learning these kinds of things is why Animal Planet is always my go-to channel when nothing else is on.
Comment icon #3 Posted by CRIPTIC CHAMELEON on 13 May, 2012, 23:27
Ah yes that's how it starts ants today tomorrow the world, quick run for your lives the plants will have their day.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Sundew on 6 June, 2012, 2:55
Nepenthes are a fascinating group of plants, with around 100+ species and many hybrids found mostly in S.E. Asia. Some, like N. rajah and merriliana have pitfall traps (pitchers) large enough to drown rats, but animals other than insects are accidental prey and are too large a nutrient load, often destroying the pitcher. The pitchers are the plant's true leaves and the "leaves" expanded petioles. N. bicalcarata is a popular, if somewhat rare, greenhouse plant among carnivorous plant growers where it can be kept warm enough; an ultra-tropical from Borneo, it is injured by cold below 48 degrees ... [More]

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