homework 8 - 1 T he swollen thorn acacias and Pscudomyrmex...

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1. The swollen thorn acacias and Pscudomyrmex ants have a mutualistic relationship in which the young queen first finds a seedling acacia and lays eggs in its thorns resulting in offspring which protect the acacia from predation and competition. The ants receive food and protection from the Beitian bodies of the plant as well as a safe place for the queen to lay her eggs. The acacia also benefits because the ant are very territorial and persistently sting and bite any insects preying on their acacia and any plant growing too close to it resulting in more light access and soil nutrients. The acacia prevents interference of ants to pollinators by producing a chemical repellent. The cost to the acacia is energy spent in production of this repellent. The cost to the ants is that they are restricted from flowering parts and they spend energy in protection of the plant. This relationship is obligate mutualism for the ant but further study is needed to determine if it is obligate for the acacia.
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