Reference : Choosing an aphid partner: a matter of taste and smell
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Life sciences : Agriculture & agronomy
Life sciences : Environmental sciences & ecology
Life sciences : Entomology & pest control
Life sciences : Zoology
Choosing an aphid partner: a matter of taste and smell
Detrain, Claire []
Fischer, Christophe mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Chimie et bio-industries > Analyse, qual. et risques - Labo. de Chimie analytique >]
Lognay, Georges mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Chimie et bio-industries > Analyse, qual. et risques - Labo. de Chimie analytique >]
Diez, Lise []
Haubruge, Eric mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Services administratifs généraux > Vice-Recteur de Gembloux Agro Bio Tech >]
Prieur, J []
Verheggen, François mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Sciences agronomiques > Entomologie fonctionnelle et évolutive >]
EUROIUSSI2012 - Combined European IUSSI Sections Meeting
du 26 au 30 aout 2012
International Union for the Study of Social Insects
[en] aphids ; mutualism ; ants
[en] Honeydew is the keystone upon which ants and aphids build their mutualistic relationship. We have investigated how sugar and volatile compounds from honeydew are involved in the discovery, the recognition and the exploitation of aphid colonies by the black garden ant Lasius niger. In addition to semiochemicals produced by aphids, honeydew volatile compounds are used by ant scouts to orient themselves and distantly recognize myrmecophilous species. Once discovered, aphid colonies producing sugars which are the most beneficial to the ants are preferentially tended. In this respect, the ways each sugar acts upon the feeding behavior of ant foragers and triggers the laying of a recruitment trail are essential to understand how their collective exploitation of aphid colonies proceeds and why mutualistic interactions between ants and aphids are maintained.
Sensitivity of ant scouts to honeydew sugars was also investigated. Dose-response curves revealed between-sugar differences with foragers being very sensitive even to small amounts of melezitose, a sugar specifically produced by aphid colonies. We discuss about the relevance of honeydew cues used by ants in the selection of sugary resources, the recognition of their honeydew-producing partners as well as in the assessment of size and nutritive value of exploited aphid colonies.

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