The presence or absence of protective wax barriers has important ecological implications for Macaranga-ant associations. Despite its effectiveness, this exclusion filter is only present in 14 out of 29 Macaranga ant-plant species. This raises the question of why and how non-wax runners are able to compete and survive despite the absence of the protective wax barriers. Our work has revealed that these associations compensate for the absence of wax barriers by a variety of other mechanisms, which involve both ant and host plant traits.
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