Aphid Alarm Pheromone as a Cue for Ants to Locate Aphid Partners.

  • Verheggen, F. , Diez, L. , Sablon, L. , Fischer, C. , Bartram, S. , Haubruge, E. & Detrain, C. (2012). Aphid Alarm Pheromone as a Cue for Ants to Locate Aphid Partners. Plos one, 7: (8), e41841/1 - e41841/6.
Type Journal Article
Year 2012
Title Aphid Alarm Pheromone as a Cue for Ants to Locate Aphid Partners.
Journal Plos one
Label U14_2012
Volume 7
Issue 8
Pages e41841/1 - e41841/6
Endnote keywords Aphids, ants, pheromone
Abstract The mutualistic relationships that occur between myrmecophilous aphids and ants are based on the rich food supply that honeydew represents for ants and on the protection they provide against aphid natural enemies. While aphid predators and parasitoids actively forage for oviposition sites by using aphid semiochemicals, scouts of aphid-tending ant species would also benefit from locating honeydew resources by orienting toward aphid pheromone sources. The present study aims to provide additional information on the use of Aphis fabae alarm pheromone, i.e. (E)-b-farnesene (EbF), by ant scouts. The perception and behavioral impact of EbF on Lasius niger were investigated using electroantennography and two bio-assays measuring their attraction and orientation towards aphid semiochemicals. Pronounced electrical depolarizations were observed from L. niger scout antennae to stimulations of A. fabae alarm pheromone, while other sesquiterpenes elicited weak or no responses. L. niger scouts were significantly attracted toward EbF in a four-arm olfactometer, as well as in an two-choice bioassay. These laboratory results suggest for the first time that low amounts of aphid alarm pheromone can be used by L. niger scouts as a cue indicating the presence of aphid colonies and could therefore mediate the aphid-ant partnership in the field.
Author address g.sinnaeve@cra.wallonie.be
Authors Verheggen, F., Diez, L., Sablon, L., Fischer, C., Bartram, S., Haubruge, E., Detrain, C.