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Among ants, those that live by “agriculture” fall into two broad categories: fungus growers and herders . The herding of scale insects (Coccomorpha) and aphids (Aphidoidea) by ants, a phenomenon termed trophobiosis, is widespread but usually facultative, with ants engaging in the behavior when they happen upon potential trophobionts. In trophobiotic systems, herder ants provide the trophobionts with protection from predation and parasitism in return for nutritive rewards. Honeydew is produced by scales and aphids as a means to rid their bodies of excess water that results from feeding on dilute sap, but it also contains many nutrients of value to the ants.
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