Dear Ant Team,
I am currently working on a project studying plant-insect interactions. Particularly indirect defenses against plant predators. In literature there are citations about ants behaving as watchdogs in exchange for a reward, in this case nectar.
In my studies I have found, among others the ants shown in the attached picture visiting extrafloral nectaries and feeding on them.
In the attached picture you can see the ants that had made a nest in the pot, when I watered the pot this morning, thousands of them came out of the nest with larvae. Could you please tell me what species it is?
I appreciate your attention.
Thanks for informing us about your interesting research and for inquiring about the identity of your ant study subjects. There are oover 600 species of ants in Argentina, but among all of those, the picture you sent is of the single ant that has come to be known around the world as the "Argentine ant", or to ant experts Linepithema humile. This species is native to Argentina and adjacent countries, but has been transported to other continents, and in many places has become an invasive species and agricultural pest, famous for its interactions with sap-feeding hemipterans, which it may defend, as it does the (extrafloral) nectar sources in your study.
James C. Trager of the Ask Ant Team