The native ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum, improves the survival of an invasive mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, by defending it from parasitoids

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dc.contributor.author Feng, D. D.
dc.contributor.author Michaud, John Paul
dc.contributor.author Li, P.
dc.contributor.author Zhou, Z. S.
dc.contributor.author Xu, Z. F.
dc.date.accessioned 2016-04-04T22:45:57Z
dc.date.available 2016-04-04T22:45:57Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2097/32299
dc.description Citation: Feng, D. D., Michaud, J. P., Li, P., Zhou, Z. S., & Xu, Z. F. (2015). The native ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum, improves the survival of an invasive mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, by defending it from parasitoids. Scientific Reports, 5, 8. doi:10.1038/srep15691
dc.description Mutualistic ants can protect their partners from natural enemies in nature. Aenasius bambawalei is an important parasitoid of the the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis. We hypothesized that mutualism between native ants and mealybugs would favor survival of mealybugs. To test this, we examined effects of tending by the native mutualistic ant Tapinoma melanocephalum on growth of P. solenopsis colonies on Chinese hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, in a field setting. Ant workers with access to honeydew of mealybugs lived much longer than those provisioned only with water in the laboratory, and number of ant workers foraging increased significantly with growth of mealybug colonies in the field. In later observations, there were significant differences in densities of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded treatments. Survival rate of mealybugs experiencing parasitoid attack was significantly higher on ant-tended plants than on ant-excluded plants. When the parasitoid was excluded, there was no difference in survival rate of mealybugs between ant-tended and -excluded plants. In most cases, ants directly attacked the parasitoid, causing the parasitoid to take evasive action. We conclude that native ants such as T. melanocephalum have the potential to facilitate invasion and spread of P. solenopsis in China by providing them with protection from parasitoids.
dc.relation.uri https://doi.org/10.1038/srep15691
dc.rights Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.subject Tinsley Hemiptera Pseudococcidae
dc.subject Aenasius-Bambawalei Hayat
dc.subject Lasius-Niger L.
dc.subject Hymenoptera Encyrtidae
dc.subject Cotton Mealybug
dc.subject Aphid
dc.title The native ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum, improves the survival of an invasive mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, by defending it from parasitoids
dc.type Article
dc.date.published 2015
dc.citation.doi 10.1038/srep15691
dc.citation.issn 2045-2322
dc.citation.jtitle Scientific Reports
dc.citation.spage 8
dc.citation.volume 5
dc.contributor.authoreid jpmi


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