The influence of ants and parasitoids on aphid reproduction in the field
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
- The aim of this study is to investigate how the availability of attending ants influences aphid reproductive investment and the rate of parasitoid attack.
- We conducted a field experiment involving the facultative myrmecophile Aphis fabae and the ant species Lasius niger. The experiment relied on natural aphid colonization of potted plants of scentless mayweed (Tripleurospermum perforatum) placed outdoors. Ants that were naturally present at the field site had access to half of the pots and were excluded from the remainder.
- Adults aphids were sampled from plotted plants during the 4th and 5th weeks of the study, preserved in ethanol and then dissected to reveal the numbers and sizes of aphid embryos and the presence of hymenopteran parasitoid larvae.
- Ant-tended aphids were more often parasitized and contained fewer embryos, but with a greater proportion of these embryos being large. In conjunction with previous analyses of this interaction, the results indicate that under the conditions of our field experiment the net effect of the presence of ants on aphids is negative, throwing doubt on the mutualistic nature of the interaction.
ant-aphid interactions, Aphis fabae, Lasius niger, mutualism, parasitism, reproductive investment, aphid embryo sizes
Behavioral Sciences Biology
Research subject Ethology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-111217OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-111217DiVA: diva2:774862
FunderSwedish Research Council