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Frank

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  1. Hi Piotrsw, Very nice set of photos! Thank you for posting them here. Are you using a microscope to get those close up photos? Were there only 2 anthers in the flower or did you remove 2 to get the photo? There are some unique things about this flower, I have to say I like it. That ring of hairs is the tightest I have ever seen and that anther color is fantastic. I am now even more anxious to get my H. manberamoense to flower. I hope you will continue to provide content here on the Forum, this really is good stuff! I got my manbramoense from Andreas Wistuba in May of 2019. It has never grown like blockbusters but it is doing ok considering it has a fungus disease in the leaves that I have been unable to cure. I do like the caudex. The photo here was taken today with the plant in a 3-1/2 inch pot.
  2. Seeds don't travel as well overseas given rules and delays. So give us the country where you are and maybe someone there will give or sell you some seeds If your "Thank's mate" is a clue, we do have some wonderful members in Australia who may post to you here or send you a PM (personal message here on our site)
  3. Hi Ideaguy, welcome to the forum. Yep, everyone got it right! If you are lucky enough that a little caudex starts to form it will be slow and ugly and never get to be the real thing - and may never fruit and if it does you could have done it faster and better with a seed. Start from a seed and you will have a caudex within a couple months (yes, I know,very small to start but already with an ant entry hole in the bottom!). Folks on the facebook group "Ant Plant Cultivation" talk about cuttings on a regular basis. Search back there if you want to see more "its not worth it". Much better you should ask there if any seeds are available. A lot of seed moves thru that site. And growing from seed is easy, just lay them on long fiber sphagnum moss and don't let it dry out. Hydnophytum moseleyanum is usually not shy about blooming. If your plant is in a 4 inch pot or bigger it should be flowering, even possibly in a 3 inch pot. Give if tomato fertilizer or any formula that promotes flowering and fruiting on a regular basis.
  4. Derrick!!! Thank you very much for providing us with the fruits of your many years of labor as regards your extensive database of Epiphytic Myrmecophytes!!!!!!!! I just browsed 4 of the chapters and had no trouble opening or navigating them. Photo quality is excellent and the extent of your research is truly inspiring! We are honored to have all this available to us at our "finger tips". I want to encourage all of our members and guests make use of all of this that you have provided. It is so thorough that some of us will feel overwhelmed with reading it, but start at least with browsing some of the chapters and look for photos and things that interest you. I expect you will keep coming back. Administrator, Frank
  5. In 2017 I received a packet of seeds labeled as Anthorrhiza caerulea. I sowed them and got good germination. There was some variation in the seedlings and young plants but all were making large asymmetrically branched spines on both the caudex and stem - what was not to like about that! In 2018 and 2019 I sold some of the plants on the American eBay using the name on the seed packet, Anthorrhiza caerulea. "Caerulea" is derived from a Latin word meaning blue in reference to the fact that this species has beautiful blue flowers. My first plant bloomed in September of 2020 and is pictured here. The far right plant in this next photo is my A. caerulea plant again - note the raised, bold nature of the leaf veins on the underside of the leaves. By the time I took this photo it was obvious that the other plants I still had from this sowing were not A. caerulea. They are the two smaller plants in the above photo. They have more elongated narrower leaves, and the veins on the underside are not bold and outstanding. Then I got an email from Ken Howell (a Forum member) who had bought one of my eBay supposedly A. caerulea plants. He was wondering why his plant had flowered with 2 inch long pure white flowers and not the expected blue flowers? Ken did an excellent job of growing these plants! Here is a great photo of his most recent blooming and fruiting event. Note the asymmetrically branched spines, especially on the stem, the large white flowers and the unusual fruit color. With Ken's information and photo, and with reference to the "Huxley and Jebb article on the genus Anthorrhiza" on the internet, it is obvious that this is not A. caerulea but is in fact Anthorrhiza chrysacantha. The yellow-orange fruit color is a nice confirmation of the ID. Turns out that these two species live as epiphytes in the same mountain forests in PNG. That would account for the mixed seeds I had in my seed packet. So, if you acquired one of my "A. caerulea" plants from me in 2018 or 2019 and your plant looks like Ken's photo here you will need to change your plant's label to A. chrysacantha. If you are growing either of these species I suggest you look at the drawings in this article that you can find on the internet with a Google search: "Huxley CR, Jebb MHP. 1991. The tuberous epiphytes of the Rubiaceae 2: The new genus Anthorrhiza". The drawings of both species show the stems and caudexes entirely covered with dense spinage. It is going to be exciting watching the spines filling in as these plants mature. (You can also see photos of "full spinage" in the posting by Andreas titled "Anthorrhiza chrysacantha" slightly below this posting in this Anthorrhiza section of the Forum) Let me also note that in 2018 Andreas Wistuba sold seedlings of a plant he called A. chrysacantha from Mt. Kaindi in PNG. I am growing one of these and it is chunkier than the chrysacanthas I have, currently has little spinage and reminds me more of a M. horrida. I am waiting for it to flower so I can study it and discuss it further. (Ken's photo of his A. chrysacantha plant is used here with his written permission. The other 2 photos are mine. As per Forum policy reuse of any photos here require written permission of the original photo owner.)
  6. Frank

    2021 FORUM DONORS

    Thank you very much to all who have contributed to the funding of our forum in the previous years! AS TO THIS YEAR, 2021: Every time I sign on to our forum the first thing I check is who is currently online. Over 90% of the viewers are "guests". Many of our original and early members have left or visit only occasionally. This is not really a surprise; there has always been an "ebb and flow" to what group of plants are popular and being sought out in any given year. The "tide is clearly out" on ant-plants right now. There are thousand of books and websites for orchids, cacti, succulents, carnivorous plants, etc. But there is little to answer the need for information on ant-plants. That is why I, and the other monetary contributors here, are making an effort to keep all the great information and photos stored here available to the entire world via the internet. I need you, the visitors who profit most from the availability of this information, to help fund this forum. It would cost you plenty to buy a book that had all the information found here on this site. Some of you visit and "read the book" on a regular basis. Please pay a little for that opportunity. I am asking you, our guests, to step up and fund a month or two of our forum fees to Invision. That is the sole use of your contributions. With our monthly fees to Invision being only $20 it should not “break the bank” for most of us to pitch in and fund a month or two. This small amount is keeping the fabulous photos and information we have accumulated here available to the entire world via the internet. To fund a month, please email me at franksantplants@gmail.com with the “note” line saying “forum” and the name you want me to use for you in the chart below (or let me know if you prefer to be acknowledged as “anonymous” or perhaps as "guest"). I will email you back with a paypal address for you to send the donation to. Thank you very much. Please make your mark in 2021 by stepping up and helping with the forum funding. Thank you, Forum Administrator, Frank Omilian 2021 CONTRIBUTORS TO THE FORUM: January - Ken Howell, Thank you Ken for starting the year off for us again this year! February - Ken Howell March - Bern Mlynczak, And thank you Bern for giving us 2 months again like you did last year! April - Bern Mlynczak May - Frank Omilian, Thanks men, you inspired me! Who will be next? Step up and take July please. June - Frank Omilian July - Adrian Napiorkowski, Excellent Adrian, thank you for contributing again this year! Well done. August September October November December Edited November 26 by Frank
  7. frogsintn3, The third photo in your posting above is not a M erinacea - The leaf shape is drastically wrong and there needs to be branched spines on the caudex.
  8. Hi Anita, welcome to the forum. Why don't you gather a little more information on this. Perhaps use a single-edge razor blade to cut the raised area in several different directions and see if they are solid or if there are perhaps insect larvae inside. Are new ones forming constantly or did the plant come with a certain number and they are not increasing? You may want to do a precautionary spray for bugs, something like safer's insecticidal soap - especially lf more leaves are getting the deformation since you got the plant. If it is not showing up on new, previous uninfected leaves you may be able to end the whole problem by just cutting off the infected/infested leaves.
  9. Hi Ladislav, The other 3 plants in the case look good, are you treating this new one the same as those or different? What do you mean by "dew"? Does that mean you only mist the plant and do not saturate the growing media with water? Does the growing media for this sick plant have sphagnum in it or is it all bark pieces? I see the droopy leaves as either a lack of watering or as a fungus causing rot in the stem or caudex. If you have not given the plant a good watering yet - as in set the pot in a bucket of water for a few hours so the bark or sphagnum can fully absorb water - than do that immediately. (Do not submerge the actual plant just have the water deep enough in the bucket so the entire media has a chance to soak up all the water it can.) If you have the media fully saturated with water already, do not water more until it starts to dry out. If the drooping continues gently touch the stem and caudex to look for soft spots that could be rot. (If the pot is just very dry the caudex will be somewhat soft because it normally stores water - but if the softness is because of the caudex turning to black mush inside that is rot and it needs to be cut out if the plant is to have a chance to survive.) Let us know how you proceed and how it works. Good luck
  10. What do I use for a growing media for Rubiaceous ant-plants you ask! The answer has changed many times over the years. What I am currently growing with is about: 33% long fiber sphagnum 27 % triple washed coconut husk chips 20% #3 perlite 15% Growstone, GS-2, for aeration 5% charcoal chips And for larger plants in larger pots I add about 5 to 10 % of Hydroton - baked clay pellets that are round and red. Now, for the finer details: SPHAGNUM The long fiber sphagnum has to be very good quality. The one I use now is a widely available one on eBay called “Spagmoss”. I soak it for an hour or two before using and then cut it into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces, slightly longer for large plants in larger pots. COCONUT HUSK CHUNKS I like the way roots attach to coconut husk chunks better than the bark I used to use. I use 1/8 to 3/8 inch size pieces for plants in smaller pots, say to 4 inch pots. Bigger pots than that I use 1/2 to 5/8 inch pieces. It is very important to triple soak these overnight to get the excess salt out of them. I have an electrical conductivity meter (DiST 3, Hana Instsruments) to measure the amount of salt in liquids. My tap water (city) registers about 140. When a put a bag of the husks into a 5 gallon bucket of that water within an hour the water tests out at over 1000. The next morning I dump that water and refill the bucket with fresh water. And again the third morning. After that if I fill with water again it tests in the 150s to 180 range and is ready for use. PERLITE I agonize over whether I should rinse off the perlite before use to get rid of the fine dust – or is it actually good in the mix? Now I generally pre-rinse only when I get near the bottom of the bag and there is a lot of the fines. GROWSTONE I like this in the mix for no apparent reason that I can think of other than it helps with drainage and therefore helps reduce root rot. CHARCOAL CHIPS These I definitely rinse before using otherwise the mix has a “dirty look” from the charcoal dust. HYDROTON I like using these because when I unpot a plant the roots will be hanging on to these. It is recommended to rinse and soak these before use. WATER AND FERTILIZER I make an effort to never let the pots dry out completely. I water as soon as the top of the media gets dry. My go-to fertilizer now is “Miracle Gro, water soluble tomato food, 18 -18 -21”. It has additional micronutrients. Once in a while I will switch over for a feeding or two to the Maxsea seaweed fertilizer (16-16-16) that Jay has championed here on the forum (also with micronutrients). I fertilize only when the plants are in active growth and only when the growing media is wet. There is nothing magical about the mix I use. Our individual growing conditions and climates are so different that it has to mean that no one mix will work for everyone. So you will need to experiment to see what works best for you. I hope my remarks will help you. Good Growing!
  11. Hi Derrick, The link you just put in the above post is not taking us to any information about M. horrida. You may want to fine tune the link. As to updating your e-book, I suggest you keep people up to date by posting notes as as you proceed to build your magnificent work in the folder just below this one titled: "Derrick Rowe's ant plant e-book has just been released!!! and is available on our forum for free". Or as an alternative you could put notes about the changes to your e-book in the folder: "Ant plants - general information, literature and links" in the thread titled: "Now available for free download Epiphytic Myrmecophytes Bizarre Wonders of Nature 2019". You will want to start with updating the link to your e-book there, because that one no longer works. Or another alternative would be to start a new thread here in the "News" folder titled something like: "A listing of the latest updates to Derrick Rowe's e-book: Epiphytic Myrmecophytes, Bizzare Wonders of Nature". If you put that one in here I will pin it to stay near the top of the "News" folder. Thank you for your continuing efforts on behalf of ant-plants.
  12. I have been studying and growing Rubiaceous ant-plants for 20 years now and there have been lots of exciting developments during that time. Arguably one of the best developments was getting Squamellarias into cultivation! Wow! And then that introduction gets followed up with the fabulous work of Dr. Guillaume Chomicki uncovering the complex symbiosis some of the Squamellarias have with Philidris nagasau ants that has the ants "farming" the plants. The ants "plant" the seeds, protect them and fertilize them (feces in the warted chamber of the seedlings). The plants, for their part in the symbiosis, delay the development of the fruits for several months after pollination happens so that a special nectary on the top of the ovary can feed the ants of the colony! If you need to catch-up with this research start with these two articles - available with free download at these two sites: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310608117_Obligate_plant_farming_by_a_specialized_ant and https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.13990 Even before these articles I knew I had to grow this species when I saw the habitat photos of this species that Derrick and Andreas posted here on our Forum of what looks like Australian rugby balls hanging in the trees with concentric patterns of holes punched in their surface. (see Derrick's thread titled "Squamellaria major" in this Squamellaria section of this Forum for some of those photos.) My plant, which I bought as a seedling in July of 2018 from Andreas at the Nepenthes Nursery, is shaped more like a pile of dog droppings than a rugby ball and is covered with an excess of adventitious roots! I have the large mass of adventitious roots because I am growing the plant in a high humidity orchidarium. Here is how my plant looks today; it is growing in a 5 inch bulb pan: In spite of its shape I can live with how it looks because of the thick, textured, and beautifully patterned leaves and the fact that it made its first flower on April 21 of this year and its first fruit today, July 12, 2020. Here are photos of that first flower: (The flower in the second photo is lying alongside the inches side of the ruler.) I was very happy to see that the flowers are self fertile because I no longer have the second plant of this species that I had originally obtained to use for cross pollination. Here are two photos of the ripe fruit on the plant. Note the veins in the fruit, the interesting color and the black marks on the surface of the fruit. There are other flowers and fruits in different stages of development on the plant: The mature fruit is in the background in this next photo. On the left is a fertilized flower that is currently using the nectary on the top of the ovary to feed the colony - it has the white base with the greenish collar. Just below it is a flower that just got fertilized in the last few days. The style is still attached to the top of the ovary inside the green collar (the calyx) and the petal tube is decaying but still hanging on the style. This view of the fruit shows the small black spots better: (the numbered lines are centimeters, the unnumbered are millimeters in the next 3 photos.) I pulled the fruit apart and found the expected 4 seeds inside The seeds each have an elaborate tail, much more fibrous than the mucus-like tail on Myrmecodia seeds. The seed to the right of the other 3 has a small protuberance showing on the side of the seed opposite the tail. I suspect it may be the radical, the tip of the root, that leaves the seed first on germination. I fear I broke it off of two of the seeds. I have already planted the seeds on chopped up long-fiber sphagnum, so I will know if I messed up those two seeds soon enough. These Squamellarias are surely different than the Hydnophytums and Myrmecodias! I have to say I have really enjoyed growing this plant --- I just need it to start looking like a rugby ball soon!!! PS. The next morning 3 of the 4 seeds are germinating. This is fast, even by ant-plant standards!
  13. Hi, Frank the administrator here, I ran Ezhikovich's posting thru google translate (Russian) and this is how it came out. Some of our people want to take a shot at a possible answer for this person? Hello! Half of my plants began to deform their new leaves, and the old leaves began to curl. They grow in different conditions of humidity and temperature, some on the windowsill, and others in the orchidaria. No pests, fertilizers use Osmokot. What could be the problem? I would be grateful for your suggestions.
  14. Science News, a bimonthly magazine about science topics, in it's April 25, 2020 issue has a 5 page article about various ants who have been cultivating plants and fungi; saying that they "may be the first known animals other than human to farm plants". The first page of the article stars the Philidris nagasau ants that plant Squamellaria seeds in the bark of trees on Fiji, protect the seedlings and adult plants, fertilize them with their feces and occupy the plants by living in the chambers in the caudex. None of this is new to us as Science News got all of this from Susan Renner and Guillaume Chomicki's papers that we have been following starting with their first one that revised the genus Squamellaria in 2016: (available free on line as, " Evolutionary relationships and biogeography of the ant‐epiphytic genus Squamellaria (Rubiaceae: Psychotrieae) and their taxonomic implications"). The Science News article has photos of Squamellarias in habitat on Fiji and a cross section of the caudex to show the chambers. A serious disappointment to me is that the Science News article refuses to use the word "caudex" and refers to it instead as the "bulbous base" or "blob". I am shocked about this!! Most of the rest of the Science News article is about three groups of fungus farming insects: 1) several thousand species of Ambrosia beetles, 2) about 330 species of termites in the subfamily Macrotermitinae, and 3) the Atta leaf-cutter ants (who get discussed the most). The last section of the article goes back to the Squamellaria/Philidris relationship including mention of the sugary, amino acid spiked feeding stations that form specifically to feed the ants. These form on the flowers after the flowers have been pollinated and fertilized so they are not there to draw in and encourage pollinators. Also referenced in this article is Guillaume Chomicki et al's latest paper: "Trade-offs in the evolution of plant framing by ants" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dated February 4, 2020. I have not read this one yet.
  15. Do not leave here today without seeing Aurelien's great posting about the new greenhouse in Nancy, France. It is a FANTASTIC PHOTO TOUR! Look for it in the "Ant Plants in Cultivation" section.
  16. Hi Tommy, Welcome to the forum. We hope you find the information here useful in your plant hobby. Growing ant-plants mounted requires more effort and diligence than growing in pots and is best attempted only when you have a high humidity growing area, say 75% and over. Your plant and the overall planting look very good. The mass of sphagnum is essential in this way of growing and you need to keep the moss constantly wet, or at least moist. This is what make this way of growing more high maintenance compared to pots. The yellowing and loss of lower leaves is not unusual when the plants are stressed - like when being repotted or getting too dry. Good growing
  17. Hi George, Welcome to the forum. We hope you find a lot of useful and interesting information here. Thanks for joining us. As to your H. puffii - you are right to be concerned - the shrinking of the caudex is not a good sign. (A caudex is a swollen stem base -- a bulb is like an onion, a collection of closely wrapped leaves) . When you say "soil" we hope you do not mean soil as in what you plant a garden or regular houseplant in. These ant- plants are epiphytes - plants that live on the surface of another plant so their roots will die if they are planted in normal garden-like soil. They need to be grown in an epiphyte mix like most orchid growers use to grow orchids. Something made of bark chips, long fiber sphagnum, perlite, coconut husk chunks, etc - so that the roots stay moist but can still get air. If you passed the soil test and have the right growing media, the next thought is watering. When you water, water well, not just a little water at the surface. With epiphyte mix you can even set the pot in a small tray or container of water for 10 or 15 mintues, let all the soil components soak up their fill and than take the pot out and not water again for perhaps a week or so until the mix is close to dry again. Do you live where it is cold? If so and if what you are describing as your window growing is between the blinds and the window than your plant could be getting too cold at night Get it a little further from the window. Most of these ant-plants do not like getting below 60 Fahrenheit Cold can cause rot that often presents as a soft, shrinking caudex. Those are my thoughts on your problem based on the information you gave us. If these things I have described are not the possible problem tell us more about your growing situation, perhaps give us photos, and we will try again to help. Let me add that in my experience H. puffii is the poster child for an ant-plant that takes a definite winter rest for me (northern hemisphere, USA,Michigan). They have never grown for me during December to sometime in March or April. They just sit there and look pretty. Thanks again for joining the forum
  18. Hi Bern, I grew it in a greenhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA for about 7 years. It started out as a cutting on a piece of tree fern. When that started growing off the tree fern I nailed that to a tree trunk in the main conservatory and it has grown up that trunk about 8 feet. It has always had some of the bullate leaves but it has not flowered there. I know it got regular fertilizer, but I cannot say that it ever grew vigorously for me - perhaps that is why no flowers.
  19. Fantastic Piece Jay !!!! Just great! I can't get over how good your photos are. Beautiful flowers. The step by step instructions and photos for building that display are priceless. You know a lot of us are going to have a go at it ourselves! Thank you for your continuing support of the forum both monetarily and with your exciting and insightful posts. We appreciate you sharing so generously with us!!! Frank
  20. A common question on this forum and on the facebook ant-plant groups is "Where can I get a book about the ant-plants? We have never had a good answer to that and while there is still no traditional book to fill that need, as of today, there is a free and very thorough e-book answer of yes, YES, YES Derrick Rowe has completed the revision of his epic resource "2. Epiphytic Myrmecophytes. Bizarre Wonders of Nature, 2019" and he has very graciously given me permission to make it available here to all of us! The amount of information and photos he has assembled in this work is absolutely amazing! This is such a valuable resource that it has to be kept available on the internet and I am very happy that we have it available to us all, here and now. You will find the free download available below in the Ant Plants - general information, literature and links folder. Thank you very much Derrick for your years of work on this project and for freely providing it to the ant-plant community!!!
  21. Hi Katie, Very nice photo of the snacking ant! Welcome to the ant-plant forum, we are glad to have you here. You have already brought us a wonderful gift - that link to the "indefenseofplants" blog. Fantastic site! I want everyone to take the time to check that out and bookmark that site for yourselves. Matt there has great incite into a lot of areas of biology and a knack for using photography. His work reminds me a lot of Jay's blog. Great stuff in both places! And I must thank you, Katie, for warming the heart of this retired teacher - we teachers like nothing better than seeing our students pursuing further, on their own, the knowledge we introduced them to. Thank you very much. Please keep looking around our forum, there is a lot to learn here. We keep it on the internet just for that purpose. Frank
  22. Thank you very much to all who have contributed to the funding of our forum in the previous years! Moving into the next decade I am asking you, our members (and guests too) to once again step up and fund a month or two of our forum fees to Invision. That is the sole use of your contributions. With our monthly fees to Invision being only $20 it should not “break the bank” for most of us to pitch in and fund a month or two. This small amount is keeping the fabulous photos and information we have accumulated here available to the entire world via the internet. To fund a month, please send me $20 USD by paypal to frankinmi@aol.com with the “note” line saying “forum” and the name you want me to use for you in the chart below (or let me know if you prefer to be acknowledged as “anonymous”). Whether you choose to fund a month or not, please, all of you, continue to share your information, insights and photos in postings to this forum. Please make your mark in 2020 by stepping up and helping with the forum funding. Thank you, Forum Administrator, Frank Omilian Thank you Ken for getting the ball rolling! Thank you Jay for your continuing support of our forum One of our newest members, Bern, funded May for us! Thanks for showing your appreciation for the archive we have here. I am going to lead by example for June and July! Excellent Aurélien, thank you very much for the donation and the recent posting about your work at the new greenhouse in Nancy, France Thanks Bern for stepping up for a second time this year, much appreciated. Glen Chappell, Your funding the month of November for us is greatly appreciated, thank you! Another brand new member has made his mark with the funding of December for our Forum. Thank you very much Adrian Napiorkowski of Australia. 2020 CONTRIBUTORS TO THE FORUM: January - Ken Howell February - Ken Howell March - Jay Vannini April - Jay Vannini May - Bern Mlynczak June - Frank Omilian July - Frank Omilian August - Aurélien Bour September - Aurélien Bour October - Bern Mlynczak November - Glen Chappell December - Adrian Napiorkowski
  23. This is a link is to an article about Mangroves but a lot of ink is spent on the epiphytes of the mangroves and this, of course, includes Rubiaceous ant-plants. Reading the article is like reading an old-fashion comic book, they spared no cost on the use of colored ink! https://smujo.id/S/2016/jogja/images/icbjogja2016-04.pdf
  24. IT IS NOT ANT-PLANTS, BUT IT IS JAY VANNINI AT HIS BEST ! Head again over to Jay's website and blog at "Exotica Esoterica". It is at: https://www.exoticaesoterica.com/ You will find an annotated version of a PowerPoint presentation given by Jay (as the keynote speaker) at the International Aroid Society on September 21, 2019 in Miami, Florida. The presentation is titled: Notes from the Fringe: Cool Aroids Hot/Hot Aroids Cool The slide show is fantastic, the images are excellent and Jay shares great insights into the philosophy and history of cultivating rare and desirable plants.
  25. Hi Akihiro, These photos are just great! Nice camera work. I have grown most of the species of Lecanopteris in cultivation here in the US at some point over the last 15 years and I have never had an ant move into any of them - in my basement under lights or in a large greenhouse that also housed Rubiaceous ant-plants that have ants in them (the genus Cardiocondyle) Looking over your photos I see no ants. Have you observed ants in or on the Lecanopteris you have been photographing? Thanks
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