Population Ecology

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 45–52 | Cite as

Colony growth and dispersal in the ant-tended aphid, Aphis craccivora Koch, and the non-ant-tended aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris, under the absence of predators and ants

  • Emi Tokunaga
  • Nobuhiko Suzuki
Original Article


To elucidate the potential for colony growth and the dispersal of aphids in relation to the ant attendance, the mobility, tolerance of starvation, colony growth, and dispersal were examined in the ant-tended Aphis craccivora Koch and the non-ant-tended Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris under the absence of predators and ants. The increase of the dispersal rate with density was more conspicuous in Ac. pisum than Ap. craccivora. The success rate of dispersal was higher in Ac. pisum than Ap. craccivora. These results would be derived from the higher ability of dispersal by walking in Ac. pisum than Ap. craccivora. The longer legs, higher walking speed, and stronger tolerance of starvation in Ac. pisum might result in a higher ability of dispersal by walking. These traits may have developed in relation to non-ant attendance, because Ac. pisum aphids frequently escape from natural enemies by dropping from the host plant. On the other hand, Ap. craccivora have not developed morphological and behavioral traits concerning dispersal by walking, because increasing colony size without dispersal is likely to be advantageous for ant attraction. Escaping behaviors of Ap. craccivora from natural enemies have not been well developed due to the ant’s defense against natural enemies. The proportion of alatae in Ap. craccivora was higher than in Ac. pisum instead of a lesser ability for dispersal by walking in Ap. craccivora. The differences in ant attendance have been influenced in the development of morphological and behavioral traits concerning the dispersal ability, and then, different potentials for reproduction and dispersal have developed in ant-tended aphids and non-ant-tended aphids.


Alatae production Ant attendance Dispersal rate Mortality rate Starvation Walking speed 



We thank members of Laboratory of System Ecology, Faculty of Agriculture, Saga University for helpful advice and support during this study.


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Biological Sciences, Faculty of AgricultureSaga UniversitySagaJapan

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