Plant bleeds nectar to recruit ant bodyguards
Injuries from herbivorous insect release attractant that summons predators
A new study by Dr. Anke Steppuhn, a Professor from the Institute of Biology at the Free University in Berlin, has found that when the nightshade is wounded, or eaten, by flea beetles and slugs, instead of closing the wound, it produces a sugary nectar around the edges of the damaged area. The nectar attracts ants, who are hungry for a sugary treat.
In this way, the nightshade has enlisted the ants to protect it, as they kill the slugs and eat the nutritious beetle larvae, preventing further damage.