PMCCPMCCPMCC

Search tips
Search criteria 

Advanced

 
Logo of procbThe Royal Society PublishingProceedings BAboutBrowse by SubjectAlertsFree Trial
 
Proc Biol Sci. 2000 September 22; 267(1455): 1863–1868.
PMCID: PMC1690756

Ant tending influences soldier production in a social aphid.

Abstract

The aphid Pseudoregma sundanica (Van der Goot) (Homoptera: Aphididae) has two defence strategies. It is obligatorily tended by various species of ant and also produces sterile soldiers. We investigated how they allocate their investment in these two strategies. We measured the size, number of soldiers, number and species of tending ant, and number and species of predators in P. sundanica populations. We found that the level of ant tending correlated negatively with soldier investment in P. sundanica. The species of tending ant also influenced soldier investment. We excluded ants from aphid populations and recorded changes in population size and structure over four weeks. Ant exclusion led to population decline and extinction. At the same time, surviving populations showed a significant increase in soldier investment. The data demonstrate that social aphids can adjust their investment in soldiers in direct response to environmental change.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (132K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Harvell CD. The ecology and evolution of inducible defenses. Q Rev Biol. 1990 Sep;65(3):323–340. [PubMed]
  • Stern DL. A phylogenetic analysis of soldier evolution in the aphid family Hormaphididae. Proc Biol Sci. 1994 May 23;256(1346):203–209. [PubMed]
  • Stern DL, Foster WA. The evolution of soldiers in aphids. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 1996 Feb;71(1):27–79. [PubMed]
  • Weisser WW, Braendle C, Minoretti N. Predator-induced morphological shift in the pea aphid. Proc Biol Sci. 1999 Jun 7;266(1424):1175–1175. [PMC free article]
  • Wilson EO. The sociogenesis of insect colonies. Science. 1985 Jun 28;228(4707):1489–1495. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society