Faculté des sciences et de médecine

The influence of ant-attendance on aphid behaviour investigated with the electrical penetration graph technique

Rauch, Gisep ; Simon, Jean-Christophe ; Chaubet, Bernard ; Haack, Lucie ; Flatt, Thomas ; Weisser, Wolfgang W.

In: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 2002, no. 102, p. 13-20

For themutualistic interaction between the aphidMetopeurum fuscoviride Stroyan (Homoptera:Aphididae) and the ant Lasius niger L. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) it has been shown that ant-tended aphids develop faster, reproduce at a higher rate, and live longer than aphids not tended by ants. We used electrical penetration graphs (EPG) to investigate if behavioural patterns differ between ant-tended... Plus

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    Summary
    For themutualistic interaction between the aphidMetopeurum fuscoviride Stroyan (Homoptera:Aphididae) and the ant Lasius niger L. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) it has been shown that ant-tended aphids develop faster, reproduce at a higher rate, and live longer than aphids not tended by ants. We used electrical penetration graphs (EPG) to investigate if behavioural patterns differ between ant-tended and untended M. fuscoviride during 8 h experiments. Measurements were made on adult aphids from four different ant-tended colonies that continued to be tended by L. niger during the experiments, and from four different colonies where ant workers were excluded several days before the start of the experiment and that were also not tended by ants during the experiments. Ants readily tended wired aphids and ant tending did not interfere with the EPG measurements. There were no significant differences in the duration of sieve element penetration or in any other analysed feeding-related EPG parameters between anttended and untended individuals. However, the quality of the EPG recordings did not allow the distinction between the EPG-waveform E1 (salivation only) and E2 (salivation and ingestion). These results suggest that the changes in life-history traits of ant-tended aphids do not result from changes in time of sieve element penetration waveforms. Alternative mechanisms may involve an increase in the rate of sap uptake or a higher effectiveness in nutrient uptake in the presence of ants. Our study demonstrates that the EPG technique is a useful tool to investigate the feeding behaviour of aphids during interactions with ants.