Interactions among attending ants, brown-citrus aphids, and ladybugs in plants of Citrus sinensis

Eduardo Diehl-Fleig, Elena Diehl

Abstract


Attending ants promote colony survivorship and reproduction of aphid colonies, mainly by protection against natural enemies. However, very few papers are about the assessment of the effect of attending ants directly on individuals of aphids without the presence of other organisms. In this article, a review of the main papers that had assessed the effect of the attendant ant Camponotus punctulatus (Formicidae) on the table of life of the brown-citrusaphid Toxoptera citricidus (Hemiptera: Aphididae) that grows in plants of Citrus sinensis (Rutaceae) without the presence of natural enemies. The ant behavior in the presence of adults and immature individuals of the ladybug Cycloneda sanguinea (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in colonies kept on Poncirus trifoliata was also evaluated. Nymph survivorship, adult total fertility, reproductive and post-reproductive period were not affected by the attending ants. The elevation of mean and daily fecundity of the aphids attending on the first days has great importance in the population growth. Ant behavior does not depend on the ladybug sex, nor on the colony size, so that ladybug larvae are more tolerated than adults in the aphid colonies. We registered that the behaviour of the aphids is similar independently of their sex and colony size, whereas ladybug larvae are more tolerated than their adults in aphid colonies.

Keywords: survivorship, fecundity, table of life, population growth.


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