What do ants have in common with farmers? Green thumbs! The creepy crawlies pictured above, known as “Phildris nagasau” ants, don’t just harvest the nectar from the plants they sow, they also use the coffee plants later on as a place to live.
“This is the first ant to build its own home,” says Susanne Renner, a botanist from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. The ants cultivate the seedling for weeks, even though it is initially of no direct benefit to them. Only after three to five months can they finally move in to their new and aromatic abode.
“It’s like a farmer tending to his crops,” Renner tells DW.
In order to observe the ants, one of Renner’s colleagues, PhD student Guillaume Chomicki, was forced to climb trees in Fiji. “He was hanging up there for hours, carrying out experiments,” Renner explains. Fiji is home to many ant species, and it was …