Myrmecotrophy is the ability of plants to obtain nutrients from ants, a form of mutualism. Due to this behaviour the invasion of vegetation into harsh environments is promoted. The dead remains of insects thrown out by the ants are absorbed by the lenticular warts in myrmecophytes like Hydnophytum and Myrmecodia. Myrmecodia uses its lenticular warts to suck nutrients from the insects thrown out by the ants. The ants in turn benefit with a secure location to form their colony. The pitcher plant Nepenthes bicalcarata obtains an estimated 42% of its total foliar nitrogen from ant waste.
- Narendra A and Kumar S. (2006) On Trail with Ants - A Handbook of the Ants of Peninsular India p53
- Janzen DH. (1974) Epiphytic Myrmecophytes in Sarawak: Mutualism Through the Feeding of Plants by Ants. Biotropica 6, 237-259
- Bazile, V., J.A. Moran, G. Le Moguédec, D.J. Marshall & L. Gaume (2012). A carnivorous plant fed by its ant symbiont: a unique multi-faceted nutritional mutualism. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36179. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036179