Ants and Aphids: An Unlikely Relationship
by Maya Merritt


Can you answer the following analogy?

An ant is to an aphid as:

A. a dog is to a person.
B. a broom is to a floor.
C. a bee is to a hive.
D. a person is to a chicken.

Perhaps some more information will help you answer the question. In this mutualistic relationship, ants provide shelter and protection for the aphid. In response to danger, they will move the aphids into new nests. Some ants will even burrow their aphids underground during cold winter months. In exchange, the aphid provides a sweet substance called honeydew. Ants use this honeydew as a food source. Therefore, the correct answer to the analogy is D. People provide shelter and protection to chickens. In exchange, chickens feed us with a product they make….eggs!

Bibliography

1. “Honeypot Ants Tending Aphids”.
http://encarta.msn.com/media_461517343/Honeypot_Ants_Tending_Aphids.html (30 March 2004).
2. http://www.jsrphoto.com/images/insect%20images/Harvester_Ants_W_Aphids_22519.jpg (30 March 2004).