Domatia (singular Domatium) are structures produced by plants for arthropods to use. Commonly domatia are small chambers inside the plant or made by hairs on leaves that offer shelter to arthropods. The domatia are intended to be used by organisms that have a symbiotic relationship with the plant.
For example, Pseudomyrmex ants live in domatia within the thorns of some Acacia trees. The tree benefits from the ants as the ants eat animals feeding on the Acacia. In return, the ant colony is protected within the domatia.
A photograph of the thorns of Acacia cornigera. The thorns are hollow and form a domatia for ants. The ants enter the domatia via the hole between the two thorns.
Photograph by Stan Shebs licensed under Creative Commons.
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