Question

Donna I. Ford-Werntz diford at WVNVM.WVNET.EDU
Sat Nov 21 14:13:34 EST 1998


>Donna, Can you fill us in on the Bullhorn Acacia symbiosis? Janice
Here is how I tell it (others please elaborate or correct, as necessary):
The bullhorn acacia (A. cornigera) is a tree of Central America with
hollow, inflated structures housing the symbiont ants.  The tree also has
petiolar nectaries and proteinaceaous food bodies on the leaflet tips that
feed the insects.  In return, the ants defend the plant by attacking
potential grazers and removing vines that may attempt to climb it.  I also
recall a few years hearing a symposium paper that suggested ant droppings
within myrmecophyte plants might provide fertilizer or other beneficial
nutrient effect to the tree.

Donna I. Ford-Werntz     West Virginia Univ.                                    
Herbarium Curator (WVA)  Box 6057                                               
Asst. Prof. Biol.        Morgantown, WV 26506                                   
425 Brooks Hall          (304)293-5201 X2549                                    
email: diford at wvu.edu    fax: (304)293-6363                                     
Web site at http://www.as.wvu.edu/biology/                                      




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