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Age-specific patterns in honeydew production and honeydew composition in the aphid Metopeurum fuscoviride: implications for ant-attendance



Age-specific patterns in honeydew production and honeydew composition in the aphid Metopeurum fuscoviride: implications for ant-attendance



Journal of Insect Physiology 48(3): 319-326



The intensity of the mutualistic relationship between aphids and ants depends mainly on the composition and amount of honeydew. We used the model system Tanacetum vulgare-Metopeurum fuscoviride to study age-related differences in honeydew production and composition and its effect on the mutualism between M. fuscoviride and the ant Lasius niger. First and second instar larvae of M. fuscoviride produced only half of the amount of honeydew as older larvae or adults. There were, however, no differences between age classes in the total honeydew sugar concentration, which averaged approx. 80 &mgr;g sugar/&mgr;l honeydew. Honeydew sugar composition also did not differ between age classes, and melezitose was the dominant sugar (59% in all classes). The amino acid concentration, by contrast, increased significantly with aphid age, reaching 22.6 nmol per &mgr;l honeydew in adult M. fuscoviride. This increase was mainly caused by asparagine and glutamine, while there were no differences in the concentrations of the five other regularly detected amino acids and cystine, respectively. The intensity of ant-attendance was significantly lower in colonies of first and second instar larvae than in colonies of older age classes. Ant-attendance correlated with the amount of honeydew produced, and not with the total amino acid concentration.

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Accession: 068777030

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12770106

DOI: 10.1016/s0022-1910(01)00179-2


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