Mark at Magdalen's picture

Ants and Violets

Observed: 6th June 2010 By: Mark at MagdalenMark at Magdalen’s reputation in InvertebratesMark at Magdalen’s reputation in InvertebratesMark at Magdalen’s reputation in InvertebratesMark at Magdalen’s reputation in Invertebrates
black-ant
Description:

Lasius niger (I think) attracted to the elaiosome* of Viola odorata (Sweet Violet) seed. * An appendage on the seed of some plants that contains oily substance attractive to ants, which assist in the dispersal of the seeds by carrying them away from the parent plant.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Small Black Ant (Lasius niger) interacts

Comments

Jonathan's picture

What a great shot of a

What a great shot of a fascinating interaction. There is some research on this kind of interaction in the USA that shows that seeds transported this way have a higher success than those not transported. Its a very common phenomenon, especially in woodland plants. Primroses have an elaiosome too and I'm sure ants are responsible for the way that this species will suddenly appear in parts of the garden quite a long way from other primroses.

Jonathan
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

anonymous spotter's picture

Agreed -

this is something I've read about (in relation to lesser celandine and others), but never seen in action. Really good shot!