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Beltian body

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The Beltian bodies of A. cornigera evolved in symbiosis with P. ferruginea.

A Beltian body is a detachable tip found on the pinnules of some species of Acacia and closely related genera. Beltian bodies, named after Thomas Belt, are rich in lipids, sugars and proteins and often red in colour. They are believed to have evolved in a symbiotic relationship with ants. The ants live inside special plant structures (Domatia) or near the plant and keep away herbivores.

Other ant-mutualism related plant structures include Beccarian, Mullerian and pearl bodies.[1][2]

Unique among spiders for its predominantly vegetarian diet, Bagheera kiplingi feeds almost exclusively on Beltian bodies.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Eubanks, Micky D.; Kimberly A. Nesci; Mette K. Petersen; Zhiwei Liu; Horacio Bonfil Sanchez (1997). "The exploitation of an ant-defended host plant by a shelter-building herbivore". Oecologia. 109 (3): 454–460. Bibcode:1997Oecol.109..454E. doi:10.1007/s004420050105.
  2. ^ Herrera, Carlos M.; Olle Pellmyr (2002). Plant-animal Interactions: An Evolutionary Approach. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-632-05267-8.
  3. ^ Meehan, Christopher J.; Eric J. Olson; Matthew W. Reudink; T. Kurt; Robert L. Curry (2009). "Herbivory in a spider through exploitation of an ant–plant mutualism". Current Biology. 19 (19): 1591–1682. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.08.049. PMID 19825348.

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