Sonoran desert cacti are frequently covered in ants. Cacti provide ants with nectar- a ready food supply in a harsh environment- in exchange for protection from herbivorous insects. Here, two Crematogaster opuntiae acrobat ants exchange nectar they have gathered from a chain-link cholla.
Tucson, Arizona, USA
Acrobat antsacrobat antCrematogasterMyrmicinaeFormicidaeHymenopteraantsantinsectsinsectworkersCrematogaster opuntiaeextrafloral nectarynectariescarbohydratesecologyant plantinteractionsfeedingplantscactusopuntiachollatrophallaxis