Backyard Symbiosis — Nectar farm

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Ever since I was a child, I had been fascinated by the natural world. One of the things that still interests me today, is the symbiotic relationships (also known as mutualism), in which organisms form in order to benefit their own survival.

In this image, ants can be seen scurrying around a large mature aphid, as well as two newly born aphids, and the purpose is for the ants to collect a sugary secretion, that exudes from the the aphids’ rear ends. The aphids gorge on the sap of the plant, and excrete this energy rich liquid for the ants to enjoy, and in return, the formidable ant army provide their precious food source with ample protection from predators.

I have seen scenes such as this in documentaries growing up, and was over the moon when I was able to capture such a relationship for myself with the aid of my camera. In that instant, I was a child again.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Backyard Symbiosis — Nectar farm

  1. Did you know that there are 4 different types of symbiosis and that mutualism is only one of them ? :p

    – commensalism : one organism benefits from the other without affecting it
    – mutualism : both organisms benefit from each other
    – amensalism : one organism is harmed and doesn’t benefit from the relationship and the other is “neutral”, stays unaffected
    – parasitim : one organism benefits while the other is harmed.

    I hope it made your day 😀

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  2. Love the story behind the picture. I loved watching nature documentaries growing up (guess I still do..) and is always fascinated watching symbiotic relationships in the ocean where the big predators goes into ‘cleaning stations’ where small fish clean their skin etc. Fascinating, same as with the ants and aphids in your picture. I did not notice the two small new borns before I was reading the text and had to look closely for them:)

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    • I’ve always wanted to be a biologist, since I was a child, not too sure when that had changed for my current career path. Maybe I shall keep it as a hobby, it is always more fun when it’s not a job.
      Aphids are fascinating insects, they reproduce parthenogenetically, and are born live rather than as eggs. They are a farming pest but I cannot help but love them.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the picture and the story 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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