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Acropyga

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Among ants, those that live by “agriculture” fall into two broad categories: fungus growers and herders [1]. The herding of scale insects (Coccomorpha) and aphids (Aphidoidea) by ants, a phenomenon termed trophobiosis, is widespread but usually facultative, with ants engaging in the behavior when they happen upon potential trophobionts. In trophobiotic systems, herder ants provide the trophobionts with protection from predation and parasitism in return for nutritive rewards. Honeydew is produced by scales and aphids as a means to rid their bodies of excess water that results from feeding on dilute sap, but it also contains many nutrients of value to the ants.

Acropyga and their trophobionts, predominantly species of root mealybugs (Rhizoecidae: Xenococcinae), represent one of the most widespread and specialized examples of obligatory trophobiosis (Fig. 1). Acropygaare small (typically less than 3 mm in body length) pantropical ants, with most species found in tropical rainforests....

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Acropyga, Fig. 1
Acropyga, Fig. 2

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Correspondence to John S. LaPolla .

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LaPolla, J.S. (2021). Acropyga . In: Starr, C.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Social Insects. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-28102-1_182

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