Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 301–312

Interactions between ants attendingAphis fabae ssp.cirsiiacanthoidis on thistles and foraging parasitoid wasps

  • W. Völkl
  • M. Mackauer

DOI: 10.1007/BF01048111

Cite this article as:
Völkl, W. & Mackauer, M. J Insect Behav (1993) 6: 301. doi:10.1007/BF01048111


We describe the behavioral interactions between honeydew-collecting workers of the ants Lasius nigerand Myrmica ruginodisand females of three species of aphidiid wasps (Lysiphlebus cardui, Lysiphlebus testaceipes, Trioxys angelicae)foraging for their aphid host, Aphis fabaessp. cirsiiacanthoidis,on thistles. Using field and laboratory experiments, we show that the ant-parasitoid interactions are species specific. Workers of both ant species generally attacked and killed females of T. angelicae,but they ignored those of L. cardui.This pattern was not altered when we anesthetized the wasps slightly with carbon dioxide to reduce their mobility. Prior contacts between L. carduiand either conspecific L. nigerfrom a different nest or workers of a different ant species (M. ruginodis)did not influence L. niger'snonaggressive behavior. The number of aphids parasitized by L. testaceipeswas significantly reduced in aphid colonies attended by L. niger,although this parasitoid was rarely attacked by ants. In encounters between these species of ants and wasps, ant aggression is consistent with differences in wasp behavior. We suggest that, in addition, chemical cues located in the cuticula may enable L. carduito avoid detection by honeydew-collecting ants.

Key words

Aphis fabae ants aphids chemical mimicry foraging behavior Lysiphlebus cardui parasitoid wasps Trioxys angelicae trophobionts 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Völkl
    • 1
  • M. Mackauer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Animal EcologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Pest Management, Department of Biological SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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