Ants provide nitrogen to carnivorous plant, study finds

05/23/2013 | National Geographic News

Researchers say the carnivorous fanged pitcher plant found in Borneo does not eat the diver ants that usually live on them because it receives nitrogen from the ants when they die or eliminate. The diver ants often steal the plant's food when another insect gets trapped in its jug-shaped leaves. "The insects that the ants are mostly eating are insects that have the ability to escape the pitcher plants. So the ants are keeping the nutrients in the plants that would otherwise be lost," said evolutionary ecologist Judith Bronstein of the University of Arizona in Tuscon.

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