How to Cite

Longino, J. T. (1986). ANTS PROVIDE SUBSTRATE FOR EPIPHYTES. Selbyana, 9(1), 100–103. Retrieved from


Two classes ofant-epiphyte relationships have drawn the attention ofnaturalists: epiphytes that provide chambers within which ants nest (domatia), and ants that plant epiphyte seeds in carton nests, producing "ant gardens." Ants are major movers and formers oforganic matter in the canopies oflowland tropical forests, and ant derived accumulations oforganic matter provide substrate for the establishment of many vascular epiphytes. This very general relationship may lead to some epiphyte species becoming specialized ant associates, either as components ofant gardens or as epiphytes providing domatia. In only one case is there evidence that coevolution has occurred. Epiphytes appear to have evolved specific adaptations for life with ants, but rarely have ants been shown to have specific adaptations to epiphytes.


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