, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 175–178 | Cite as

Homopteran chemical signatures reduce aggression of tending ants

  • Dong-Hwan ChoeEmail author
  • Michael K. RustEmail author
Short Communication


Because generalist ants are aggressive towards foreign insects, the recognition of homopterans by tending ants is critical in ant/homopteran trophobiosis. Herein we report experimental evidence indicating that Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) learn to associate the production of honeydew with the chemical characteristics of homopteran cuticle, suppressing ant aggression and allowing the ants to tend homopterans. Although chemically-mediated associative learning is well understood in honeybee foraging, to our knowledge, it has not been reported before in ant/homopteran trophobiosis.


Ant/homopteran mutualism trophobiosis aggression Argentine ant Linepithema humile brown soft scale Coccus hesperidum associative learning 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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