File:Whistling thorn.jpg

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The Whistling Thorn (Acacia drepanolobium)

A mouthful of that could change your perspective.

This species of acacia grows two kinds of thorns. The main defense is provided by pairs 5cm long arranged nearly at a right angle. Smaller stipular spines grow between the pairs of big thorns. These emerge from hollow galls, bulbous swellings 2 to 3cm across. One of four different species of ant lives in each of these igloos, which they open up by cutting holes into them. A dying bush whistles as the wind blows over these entrances.

Most acacias make toxins that it rushes to leaves that are under attack by browsers. The whistling thorn doesn't. It is infested with stinging ants that swarm out and prepare to bite anything they can when the branch is disturbed. Most browsers seem to avoid infested bushes, perhaps because the ants stink of formic acid.

Date
Source give the devil his due
Author Martin Sharman from Brussels, Belgium
Camera location0° 15′ 23.26″ N, 37° 20′ 42.99″ E Kartographer map based on OpenStreetMap.View all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap - Google Earthinfo

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Checked copyright icon.svg This image, originally posted to Flickr, was reviewed on January 21, 2008 by the administrator or reviewer File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske), who confirmed that it was available on Flickr under the stated license on that date.

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