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When industrious ants go too far
Date:4/28/2009

on and growth. Since the plant is sterilized, and no longer allocating resources to reproduction, those resources are re-routed into growthand more living space for ants.

So in this relationship, the ant wins, and the plant appears to have lost.

So does this mean that octoarticulatus is really a parasite rather than a mutual partner? That's hard to say, according to Dr. Frederickson. Nodosa plants generally live about 77 years, while ant colonies only live seven to 14 years. Perhaps, Frederickson says, octoarticulatus helps Nodosa plants survive and grow until another ant speciesone that doesn't sterilize its hostcomes along and allows it to reproduce.


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Contact: Kevin Stacey
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