Aphid Farm

Aphid Farming

These ants are tending aphids on a black locust branch. I considered calling this aphid ranching, but the aphids’ primary product is sweet honeydew. So, it’s more like a dairy farm than a cattle ranch. They will eat them, too, though. An interesting factoid with this process is that research indicates that  chemical signals left behind by the feet of the ants may keep the aphids corralled. The photograph here is from an iPod touch. If the ants are still in that location tomorrow I hope to revisit them with a proper lens. While the iPod touch 5th generation is good for a snapshot, it is a long way from replacing a DSLR.

UPDATE: I returned to the site today for a better picture. I have switched to the better shot for the featured image. The original One Picture a Day from Saturday is below.

Ants farming aphids

Ants farming aphids for honeydew