Aphid-attending Ants Increase the Number of Emerging Adults of the Aphid's Primary Parasitoid and Hyperparasitoids by Repelling Intraguild Predators




The impact of the ant Lasius niger attending the cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii, on the number of emerging adults of this aphid's primary parasitoid, Lysiphlebus japonicus, and its hyperparasitoids in the presence of predators was assessed experimentally at a no-pesticide mandarin grove. Aphid colonies were artificially initiated on young citrus shoots in spring. Attending ants drove away large predators, such as the coccinellid Harmonia axyridis, from aphid colonies through aggressive behavior, so that the aphid numbers were consistently greater in ant-attended colonies than in colonies where ants were excluded using tanglefoot. L. japonicus females were observed foraging more frequently in ant-attended colonies. They were often attacked by ants, but oviposited successfully by avoiding encounters with approaching ants. In ant-excluded colonies, L. japonicus parasitized a small number of aphids, with most of them being subject to intraguild predation. Ants disregarded parasitized aphids, thereby incidentally protecting them against large predators. Consequently, L. japonicus-mummies were abundant in ant-attended colonies, but scarce in ant-excluded ones. In addition, significantly more adults of both L. japonicus and hyperparasitoids emerged in ant-attended colonies. The larvae of a small coccinellid, Scymnus posticalis, foraged in ant-attended colonies, but were ignored by ants. The number of mummies in ant-attended colonies was reduced when S. posticalis larvae were abundant, but the difference was insignificant. Ant-exclusion after mummy formation revealed that ants reduced intraguild predation and hyperparasitism on immature L. japonicus within mummies. Thus, L. niger attending A. gossypii increases the number of emerging adults of this aphid's primary parasitoid and hyperparasitoids by repelling large predators, although ants do disturb ovipositing parasitoids.


  • Entomological science

    Entomological science 5(2), 131-146, 2002-06-25

    Entomological Society of Japan

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