Extra reading: Ants and their
Ants participate in a huge number of mutualisms with other organisms.
Here are some of them:
- aphids (protection for honeydew)
- other homopterans and hemipterans,
such as treehoppers (protection for honeydew)
- plants: many plants provide ants
with crucial resources, such as shelter and food. In turn, the ants
defend the plants from herbivores.
- fungi: fungus-growing ants create
and tend fungus gardens within their nest, protecting them from hostile
bacteria and other fungi. The fungi are able to digest plant cellulose
(which ants can't), and provide the ants with food they can digest.
- caterpillars (protection for nectar).
The caterpillars are not phloem-feeders producing honeydew; instead,
they have a special gland that produces nectar. The ants protect them
from predators and parasites.