You are here
Lesson 3: Teamwork
All these red flatid leaf bugs can cause a lot of damage to a tree. By itself, one insect cannot eat many leaves. But think about how many leaves thousands of insects can eat. A tree can die if the insects eat all of its leaves.
Click to view a related video.
These flatid leaf bugs like to stay together in large groups. These bugs have tiny bodies and very large wings. Their mouths are able to suck sap out of plants. Flatid leaf bugs don’t have wings when they are babies. Instead, their bodies are covered with a waxy substance that looks like long, wispy feathers. This makes it hard for birds to grab them and eat them.
Some bats sleep on the tops of pitcher plants. The leaves of the plant help keep the bat safe. In return, the bats provide nutrition to the plant through their droppings.
Antbirds rarely eat ants. Instead, they depend on the ants to help them find their food. The birds wait and watch above. Below them, huge swarms of army ants scurry across the forest floor looking for food. The birds then swoop down to eat the insects and reptiles trying to escape from the ants. Antbirds may also use ants to help them clean their bodies. Some antbirds will let ants crawl through their feathers. The ants will eat any parasites that they find.