To Encourage Disease Fighting Mites, Plants Offer Housing And Food

One widespread plant trait hypothesized to impact the selective benefit of mite domatia is extrafloral nectar: a sugary substance secreted from non-floral plant glands (called extrafloral nectaries) that attracts and feeds beneficial arthropods. Although extrafloral nectar has typically been studied for its role in attracting ant bodyguards to plants, several recent studies have suggested that extrafloral nectar may also enhance plant–mite defence mutualisms by facilitating larger standing populations of mites on leaves (Click on title for full paper.)