The relationship in between acacia and ants is an instance of mutualism. The adhering to post discusses the acacia-ant connection in detail.

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The relationship in between acacia and also ants is an example of mutualism. The following article discusses the acacia-ant link in detail.

Several types of acacia choose Acacia cornigera, Acacia collinsii, and Acacia drepanolobium have actually a symbiotic connection with the ants (like Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) which prosper on them. That is amazing to see just how the acacia tree and the ants benefit from each other. Follow to P.G. Wilmer that the university of St. Andrews, united Kingdom, and also G. N. Stone from the Oxford University, this relationship is one of the ideal examples of mutualism.

Before i proceed, permit me tell you what is mutualism. As soon as 2 different species of organisms exist in a relationship, in which castle derive benefits from each other; such a relationship is referred to as mutualism.

How carry out the Ants Benefit

Every living organism has 2 essentials:


The acacia tree provides both the essentials come the ants. Take into consideration the adhering to points, because that a better understanding.


The types of acacia mentioned above have big thorns, and also they kind the perfect dwelling location for ants. The ants hollow out the thorns and thrive in them. Such a sanctuary is additionally called domatia. As they live in the thorns, the ants are protected from complicated climatic conditions.


The acacia provides the vital nourishment to the ants i beg your pardon live on it, as it offers them with:

Beltian BodiesThe Beltian bodies room red in color, and also are discovered on the advice of the leaflets of acacia. The Beltian bodies are a great source of nutrients as they are rich in:


It is thought that the Beltian body were developed as a result of the relationship in between the ants and also the acacia tree, which indicates that the tree produce the nutrient-rich bodies only to feed the ants.

NectarNectaries are uncovered towards the base of the petioles of the acacia tree. The ants feed on the sweet carbohydrate-rich nectar secreted through the nectaries, and gain the power that they call for to sustain your lives.

How is the Acacia Tree Benefited

In return for the food and also shelter the the acacia provides, the ants protect it. This have the right to be studied in three parts.

Protection versus InsectsThe ants do not harm the acacia tree, but there are numerous insects which could harm (wither the leaves, rot the flowers, etc.) the acacia in their occupation for food and shelter. The ants ward turn off all other insects which shot to occupy the acacia, therefore protecting the tree from any damage.

Defense against HerbivoresApart from the insects, the acacia likewise faces a risk from herbivores. The ants safeguard the tree native herbivores too. How? as soon as the herbivores try to eat the pipeline of the acacia, they cause the branches of the tree to move, this acts as a signal come the ants living in the domatia. The ants easily reach the herbivore that is make the efforts consume the leaves, and also start stinging it. After part resistance, the herbivore provides up, and leaves the tree alone.

In enhancement to this, the ants also eliminate any plants that try to prosper on, or close to the acacia, therefore the acacia walk not need to compete for resources.

Special functions of the Acacia-Ant Relationship

The relationship between the acacia and the ant is defined by the exciting features pointed out below.

Possessiveness of the AntsThe acacia and the ants share together a close shortcut that, together time go by, the ants become very possessive about the tree ~ above which they dwell. They additionally attack other varieties of ants which shot to occupy the tree. Unique groups the ants usually complete for the acacia.

Manipulation by the AcaciaThe ants strike all the insects which shot to feeding on the acacia, however it does not damage the pollinators. Why? according to Wilmer and also Stone, the young blossoms of the acacia do a repellent which does not allow the ants to patrol top top them. It is thought that this repellent is ineffective once the pollination is over, and also thus the ants deserve to move freely on the flowers after the pollination is complete.

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Ted Schultz, native the Smithsonian Institution’s national Museum of Natural history in Washington, D.C., believes the this manipulation of the patrolling of the ants is a great way to rise the performance of the acacia, as once the ants begin patrolling top top the flower after the is pollinated, it will attack any kind of insect which come close come the flower, in order to protecting the seeds, and undamaged seeds will eventually an outcome in boosted productivity.

There are countless examples of synergy in nature, but very few are as amazing as the relationship between acacia tree and ants. The following time you watch ants on an acacia, you much better stay away from the tree, else you might come to be a victim the the ant-attack!