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Absorption of Animal Tissue Breakdown Products into a Plant Stem-The Feeding of a Plant by Ants

Fred R. Rickson
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), pp. 87-90
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2442629
Page Count: 4
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Absorption of Animal Tissue Breakdown Products into a Plant Stem-The Feeding of a Plant by Ants
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Abstract

Cohabiting ants place animal remains in stem cavities of Hydnophytum formicarum Jack (Rubiaceae). Insect larvae were made radioactive, introduced into the plant, and pieces of stem tissue were subsequently analyzed for radioactivity. Breakdown products of the insects had moved into the stem tissue and were also translocated up the stem. The conclusion is that the ants "feed" the plant a portion of their catch, thereby maintaining the fecundity of the host plant, and ultimately insuring a supply of homesites.

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