by Patrick Kavanagh
As the season of flowering finishes, the abundance of pollinating insects is replaced by the many that draw on the sap of plants in our garden. I recently found the nymphs of a species of Leafhopper that I’ve not noticed at our place at Strangways before. These tiny mostly black wonders were on a Grey Box sapling and were being tended by a number of different ant species. The first that I noticed were tended by a single Golden-flumed Sugar Ant, which was quite keen to protect her charges from the large intruder with a camera. Others had a retinue of smaller ant species and it was clear to see that the ants were getting a reward of nectar secreted from the nymphs rear end. The next evening, I found a plethora of ants with many of the nymphs in the process of moulting. The careful attention continued the next night with the nymphs at the next instar.