The Fijian farmer ant (Philidris nagasau) looks unremarkable, but it has an extraordinary partnership with several species of plants, which it has domesticated to meet its own needs.
Worker ants place Squamellaria seeds high up in the crevices of tree bark and fertilize them with their own bodily waste. The seedlings sprout into strange, alien-looking growths with round, swollen bases. These odd structures are domatia: homes for ants. Inside are all the tunnels and comforts a growing colony could want.
A little Philidris nagasau worker ant tends a freshly sprouted plant in this lapel pin, originally for the April 2022 Bug Box.
Double posted, soft enamel + epoxy. Comes on a kraft Bug Box backer card.