Density-dependent predation of the antLasius niger (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on two attended aphidsLachnus tropicalis andMyzocallis kuricola (Homoptera: Aphididae)
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The antLasius niger was observed collecting honeydew and preying on the two aphid speciesLachnus tropicalis andMyzocallis kuricola on the chestnut treesCastanea crenata. Observation determined how the antL. niger controlled their predation on the aphids in response to the density and honeydew-productivity of the aphids.Lachnus tropicalis was a better honeydew source thanM. kuricola forL. niger in terms of the amount of honeydew collected per unit time by the ants. The number of foraging workers on a tree increased with the number ofL. tropicalis on the tree, but not with the number ofM. kuricola. The density ofL. tropicalis perL. niger worker on a tree had a positive effect on the predation activity ofL. niger on both aphids, whereas the density ofM. kuricola per ant did not have any significant effect. The predation pressure by the ant which increased withL. tropicalis density, however, directed toM. kuricola rather than toL. tropicalis. These facts suggest (1) thatL. niger control their predation activities on aphids with regards to the densities of the attended aphids per worker, and (2) that the ants prey on the aphid species producing less honeydew. The effects of the ant predation on aphids and the importance of these predation effect in antaphids interactions were discussed.
Key wordspredation attendance honeydew interaction modifications density dependence foraging
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