Ant aphid interactions essay

Proceedings of Pakistan Congress of Zoology 6: Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs

Ant aphid interactions essay

Leather Find articles by Simon R. Cook Find articles by James M. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license http: Abstract Ants often form mutualistic interactions with aphids, soliciting honeydew in return for protective services.

Under certain circumstances, however, ants will prey upon aphids. In addition, in the presence of ants aphids may increase the quantity or quality of honeydew produced, which is costly. Through these mechanisms, ant attendance can reduce aphid colony growth rates.

However, it is unknown whether demand from within the ant colony can affect the ant-aphid interaction. In a factorial experiment, we tested whether the presence of larvae in Lasius niger ant colonies affected the growth rate of Aphis fabae colonies.

Other explanatory variables tested were the origin of ant colonies two separate colonies were used and previous diet sugar only or sugar and protein.

We found that the presence of larvae in the Ant aphid interactions essay colony significantly reduced the growth rate of aphid colonies. Previous diet and colony origin did not affect aphid colony growth rates.

Our results suggest that ant colonies balance the flow of two separate resources from aphid colonies- renewable sugars or a protein-rich meal, depending on demand from ant larvae within the nest.


Aphid payoffs from the ant-aphid interaction may change on a seasonal basis, as the demand from larvae within the ant colony waxes and wanes. Formicidae often engage in mutualistic interactions with aphids Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha, previously Homoptera; [ 1 ]receiving carbohydrate-rich honeydew in return for a number of protective and sanitary services [ 234 ].

In this symbiotic interaction, behavioural and physiological adaptations in both species groups ensure that interacting individuals are often co-located in space and time.

For example, evolutionary adaptations in ants range from herding aphids using both physical means e.

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Evolutionary adaptations in aphids include a reduced movement response to aphid alarm pheromones when in the presence of ants [ 10 ], an ability to modify honeydew composition [ 111213 ] and, possibly, reduced apterous dispersal behavior although it is still unconfirmed whether this is adaptive for aphids or is an extended phenotype of ants, i.

The symbioses between ants and aphids, however, are not static but in a continual state of flux, depending on the changing distributions and densities of interacting species [ 151617 ].

In certain circumstances, costs may exceed benefits causing the net effect of the interaction to switch sign from mutualism to antagonism, with potentially important consequences for community dynamics [ 181920 ]. The key point is that each organism evolves to maximise its own benefit within the interaction.

For example, aphids have evolved to modify the quality and quantity of honeydew in order to alter its attractiveness to ants [ 111213 ]. Honeydew forms an important part of the diet for many ant species and its availability can structure ant communities [ 2122232425 ].

In contrast, ants may maximise benefits by changing their behaviour towards aphids; for example, increasing predatory- rather than tending- behaviour.

Previous research shows that ants may switch from tending aphids to preying upon them if there are alternate sources of carbohydrate available to ants [ 26 ].

It has also been suggested that predation rates may increase if protein-rich prey sources are scarce [ 27 ], although a study by Offenberg [ 26 ] did not support this hypothesis.

Offenberg found that alternative protein sources offered to ants did not affect aphid predation rates. In colony developmental stages where ant larvae are present, protein may be more important for colony growth [ 28 ].

Ant aphid interactions essay

Colonies with larvae present often up-regulate foraging for protein food sources [ 29 ]. Hence, ants might increase predation of aphids unless alternative protein sources are provided. In this study we investigated whether the presence of larvae in ant colonies, and previous diets fed to ants, affected aphid fitness.Devil In The Dark () The Horta was an example of Silicon life.; Now we are really sailing off into terra incognito.

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The ant-aphid mutualism is well studied for some species. I get some 10, hits in seconds, and most of the top selections look like valid examples of different aspects of .

Some aphid species have lost the ability to excrete waste on their own and depend entirely on caretaker ants to milk them.

Aphids in an Ant's Care.

Ant aphid interactions essay

Aphid-herding ants make sure aphids stay well-fed and safe. When the host plant is depleted of nutrients, the ants carry their aphids to a new food source. This list includes the full bibliography published by Day and Fletcher () and therefore includes numerous references on the Australian Cicadelloidea not used in this, M.

() Some investigations of leafhoppers of grasslands and allied crops in Pakistan. Ant-Aphid Interactions Essay - Ants and aphids are two highly common and successful insect groups that often occur in the same habitats which greatly increases their chances of interacting with one another (Stadler and Dixon ).

Aphid - Wikipedia