A new study finds elephants might be afraid of ants and unveils a little more of amazing symbiotic story of the ant and Acacia tree.
Ants in your pants? That’s nothing compared with ants up your snout. And that’s what elephants in the African savanna must contend with when trying to snag a meal from a certain type of acacia tree.
In fact, the pesky animals are keeping African elephants from devouring so-called Acacia drepanolobium trees as they have been to other tree species in the area, a new study suggests.
“Ants swarming onto an herbivore’s face often tend to head for the sensitive parts such as the nostrils before hunkering down and taking a bite out of the offending animal,” said study researcher Todd Palmer, a University of Florida biology professor. “While the outside of an elephant’s trunk is very tough, the inside of the trunk is very sensitive and full of nerve endings. It seems that elephants simply do not like ants swarming up the insides of their trunks.”
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