Beltian bodies

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Sausage-shaped organs at the tips of the leaves of certain Acacia species found in the African savannah that secrete oils and proteins as food for ants living in nests they have hollowed out in leaf bases; the ants also feed on nectar. In return for the food, the ants defend the tree from attack by herbivores and cut away parts of adjacent plants that threaten to shade the acacia's leaves.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry — Ecology and Conservation.

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