Category Armchair Naturalist
The Guardian | January 20, 2020
Photographer and naturalist Julian Hodgson was searching for barkflies in Monks Wood national nature reserve in the UK when he came upon an unusual phenomenon. The pale giant oak aphid, Stomaphis wojciechowskii, which has lived undiscovered for thousands of years on English oak trees, was being "farmed" by a community of brown ants.
In return for plentiful supplies of honeydew – the sugary water excreted by the aphid – the ants were observed herding the aphids, keeping them safe in “barns” they build on tree trunks from mosses, lichens and the exoskeletons of beetles.