Photo: Ants and treehoppers are best of friends

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Ants and Tropidolomia auriculata treehoppers

credit: Andreas Kay

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Treehoppers and ants have a well-known mutualistic relationship. The treehoppers eat plants, and excrete a sugary substance called honeydew. The ants eat honeydew, and provide the treehoppers with protection from predators and parasites. This photo from the Yasuni Research Station in Ecuador shows this relationship in action, with ants tending to treehopper nymphs, which belong to the Tropidolomia auriculata species.

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