Ant meadow

Rearing insects to obtain honey

Ants sometimes take care of the larvae of aphids or scale insects. This seems strange, but the reason is that since these insects release a sweet sap, the ant raises them to obtain a supply of the sap rather than eating them. As long as these insects are being cared for by ants, they are protected from other enemies.

Keeping aphids

Some people call the aphid, the ant's cow. In order to obtain sweet sap from the aphids, ants carry them to the buds of trees that produce a large amount of sweet sap.

Paratrechina flavipes helping aphids to move

Obtaining food from scale insects

The ant also raises scale insects. Instead of taking the sweet sap away, the ants defend the scale insects from parasitic flies or carry them to a place where a large amount of the sweet sap can be obtained.

Paratrechina flavipes sucking sweet sap from scale insects

Raising lycaenid butterfly larvae

The Camponotus japonicus ant is particularly fond of a sweet fluid released by balck lycaenid butterfly larvae. These larvae are carried into the nest of Camponotus japonicus where they are raised during their larval stage.

Camponotus japonicus raising larvae of balck lycaenid butterfly

Lasius japonicus obtaining honey from aphids on a rose.