Homoptera associated with the ants Crematogaster clariventris, Pheidole megacephala and Tetramorium aculeatum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on cocoa in Ghana.
Population densities of honeydew-producing Hemiptera were assessed on mature upper-Amazon cocoa trees at Tafo, Ghana, with respect to the combinations of the attending ants Crematogaster clariventris, Pheidole megacephala and Tetramorium aculeatum. C. clariventris primarily attended Stictococcus sjostedti and less frequently Waxiella sp. near W. zonata. Planococcoides njalensis and Planococcus citri were attended mainly by P. megacephala. T. aculeatum was negatively associated with honeydew-producing Hemiptera only when it was the sole dominant ant. Where T. aculeatum co-existed with either one or both of the other ant species, it had little influence on the abundance of the honeydew-producing Hemiptera it attended, including P. njalensis, an important vector of cocoa swollen shoot virus. Hemiptera attended by ants were more numerous on trees solely dominated by their attendant ants than on trees where 2 or all 3 ant species co-occurred. In contrast, the non-ant-attended psyllid Mesohomotoma tessmanni was least common on trees with a single dominant ant species and was most abundant on trees foraged by all 3 ant species.