A hungry caterpillar can quickly munch enough through enough of a young inga tree’s leaves to dramatically limit it’s survival. So the trees, which grow in the Peruvian rainforest, depend on ant bodyguards.The trees pay up in precious nectar to entice big-headed ants to drive off invading caterpillars. But one species of caterpillar bribes the guards, producing its own nectar as it chomps away. Watch KQED Deep Look’s newest video for a close-up look at this back-stabbing behavior.
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Lydia Chain is a freelance science journalist, podcaster, and videographer. She hosts Undark's podcast, and also writes about nature, the environment, and evolution, especially when it involves the intersection of humans and wild spaces or animals behaving strangely. Follow Lydia Chain on Twitter