Have been working over the past week in the Kerio Valley. Located in Northwestern Kenya this is one of my favourite places in the world and a stunning extension of the Great Rift Valley. Steep escarpments plunge down from the ancient Cherangani Hills to the hot, dry acacia woodlands and scrub of the valley floor, then the land rises again to meet the Tugen Hills. On the valley floor among the majestic Acacia tortilis trees are stands of Acacia seyal – one of the ant-acacias that I am currently studying. These are medium-sized tree up to 15-20 m tall with lovely soft yellow bark that is often tinged with russet as they age. This species and the other African ant-acacias are fascinating plants. They are a wonderful example of mutualism and cooperation between species. The plant engages with a close and intimate relationship with a range of ant species. The basic understanding between the acacia and the ants is: The acacia provides housing and food, the ants provide protection against hungry nibbling mouths. This acacia houses ants in lovely silvery-white swollen thorns that are distributed along the tree’s branches… The ants forage up and down the trees, and from the extra-floral nectaries, which are special glands that secrete sugary sustenance for the ants… More on the myriad other ants and fabulous creatures on and around the acacias soon!