Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Insects associated with the banana aphid Pentalonia nigronervosa Coquerel (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in banana plantations with special emphasis on the ant community.

Abstract

Ant attendance, well known behavior form towards aphid species was studied in case of the banana aphid Pentalonia nigronervosa Coquerel (Hemiptera: Aphididae) populations in four plantations in the coastal area of Carmel (Israel), where the aphid is a major pest on banana. The study characterizes the ant community the extent of attendance and the natural enemies associate with the aphid. The ants and natural enemies were sampled on mats and suckers. The ant community in the plantations was also studied by using different ant baits. In addition, the ants' impact on the density of the banana aphid population and the potential role of local natural enemies was evaluated in artificially infested potted banana plants set in the plantation with or without a glue barrier. More than 80% of the aphid colonies on the mats were attended by ants. Ten of the twelve ant species detected in the plantations were observed attending the banana aphid. Seventeen species of potential natural enemies of the aphid, mostly belonging to the families Syrphidae, Cecidomyiidae and Coccinellidae, were found in the aphid colonies. When ant attendance on infested potted banana plants was excluded, the number of natural enemies was higher, while the aphid density was lower, than recorded on the control plants. Our finding suggest that the ants, especially the invasive species, lower the pressure of natural enemies on the aphid population and but also probably remove large quantity of honeydew which is the source of the main damage caused by the banana aphid in the local plantations.