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Obligate Plant Farming by a Specialized Ant

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Obligate Plant Farming by a Specialized Ant

Guillaume Chomicki et al. Nat Plants.

Abstract

Many epiphytic plants have associated with ants to gain nutrients. Here, we report a novel type of ant-plant symbiosis in Fiji where one ant species actively and exclusively plants the seeds and fertilizes the seedlings of six species of Squamellaria (Rubiaceae). Comparison with related facultative ant plants suggests that such farming plays a key role in mutualism stability by mitigating the critical re-establishment step.

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