A Good Relationship

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Introducing the Ant Woodlouse Platyarthrus hoffmannseggii. Growing up to a length of 5 mm (1/4 in), it is blind and spends all of its life underground. It is always nearly found in association with ants within their nests where they have a good relationship. The woodlouse is tolerated and is not under any threat, most likely because it acts as a house keeper for the ants, feeding on their ant droppings hence keeping the nest clean.

A fairly slow-moving woodlouse, and the darkish stripe along the back is the contents of the gut showing through the cuticle. It is widespread across southern Britain, less so and becoming much rarer further north.

21 thoughts on “A Good Relationship

  1. The segmented body makes it look like one of those wooden pull toys that can bend around corners! The gut showing through the translucence reminded me of shrimp. De-veining shrimp is one of life’s most boring tasks!

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  2. Aphids and ants have a nice symbiotic relationship as do sharks and remoras. Somehow I find either of those relationships more appealing than poo eating. πŸ™‚ It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it, I guess. πŸ™‚ I thought the same as LInda, the line resembling the vein we remove from shrimp. Nice detailed shots, Pete!

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      1. Yep, that it does. The more I learn about ecology the more I realize just how important those poop eaters are. One more example of how we just don’t fit in to the whole scheme of things. (I don’t mean we should eat poop, just that we create too much of “it”.) πŸ™‚

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  3. Excellent shots! They get more and more sympathetic to me the woodlice πŸ™‚ This one is really special, beautiful to some extent.

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      1. I don’t know what you mean πŸ˜‰ A ghost wooldlouse, strange enough. What was it with a bark and beneath it? You really never know…

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Pam. I often wonder as to the purpose of all those details nature offers us in species, but I presume they all have a function of one kind or another.

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