Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Record of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) tending aphids with special reference to the melon aphid, Aphis gossypii Glover (Hemiptera: Aphididae).

Abstract

Studies were conducted to investigate aphid associated ant fauna with special reference to the melon aphid, Aphis gossypii Glover (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on various host plants in South India. Thirteen aphidocolous ant species belonging to 10 genera were collected and identified. These ants were observed to harvest honeydew from A. gossypii colonies on a variety of host plants belonging to Malvaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Solanaceae and Asteraceae. Out of thirteen, five species viz., Camponotus parius Emery, Lophomyrmex quadrispinosus (Jerdon), Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille), Prenolepis sp. and Tapinoma indicum Forel were new records of ant.melon aphid association from India. The most frequent ants that attended A. gossypii were Camponotus compressus (Fabricius), P. longicornis, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius) and Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius). Ant species, T. melanocephalum, P. longicornis, Monomorium sp., S. geminata and C. compressus were also observed to be associated with Aphis craccivora Koch and Oecophylla smaragdina (Fabricius) tending A. craccivora on Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp was a new record. Identification report indicated that, C. compressus is the most dominant ant species associated with different aphid species on a variety of host plants. Since ants protect aphids from natural enemies, disruption of this association could control the aphid population in the agricultural fields. Thus, this study aids in understanding the fundamentals of ant-aphid association, a critical factor in devising management strategies especially biological control.