Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 86–91 | Cite as

Head-plug defense in a gall aphid

  • U. KurosuEmail author
  • J. Narukawa
  • S. Buranapanichpan
  • S. Aoki
Research article


The aphid Astegopteryx sp. forms a banana-bunch shaped gall consisting of several subgalls on Styrax benzoides in northern Thailand, and completes its life cycle on the tree, without migrating to secondary hostplants. We found that its soldiers had sclerotic, protruded heads with many spine-like setae, and that several soldiers cooperate to plug the ostiole of the subgall with these heads. Of 173 ostioles examined in the field, 90.8 % were plugged with no space among the guarding soldiers. Many eggs and sexuals were found within subgalls guarded by soldiers, and a number of males were found trying to intrude into these subgalls. However, they were blocked by guarding soldiers, and it was no easy task for them to intrude into subgalls. The same was true for some soldiers that had rushed out of the subgall. Guarding soldiers often prevented outside soldiers from coming back into the subgall. These findings suggest an interesting possibility that guarding soldiers might consequently select still active, reusable soldiers and strong males for sexual females in their subgall.


Astegopteryx Cerataphidini soldier aphid Styrax subgall 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Kurosu
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Narukawa
    • 2
  • S. Buranapanichpan
    • 3
  • S. Aoki
    • 4
  1. 1.Nobidome 3-10-17SaitamaJapan
  2. 2.Genome Research DepartmentNational Institute of Agrobiological SciencesIbarakiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Entomology, Faculty of AgricultureChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  4. 4.Faculty of EconomicsRissho UniversityTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations