Honeydew collection by the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus versus the native ant L. grandis

  • Paris C
  • Espadaler X
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Abstract

Honeydew collection performed by the invasive ant Lasius neglectus and by the native ant L. grandis was compared. The invasive ant collected 2.09 kg of honeydew per tree while the native ant collected 0.82 kg. The aphid Lachnus roboris was visited by both ant species. In holm oaks colonized by L. neglectus, aphid abundance tended to increase and its honeydew production increased twofold. The percentage of untended aphids was lower in holm trees occupied by L. neglectus. As tending ants also prey on insects, we estimated the percentage of carried insects. The native ant workers carried more insects than the invasive ant. Both ant species preyed mainly on Psocoptera and the rarely tended aphid, Hoplocallis picta. We conclude that the higher honeydew collection achieved by L. neglectus was the consequence of (1) its greater abundance, which enabled this ant to tend more Lachnus roboris and (2) its greater level of attention towards promoting an increase of honeydew production.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aphid-ant mutualism
  • Invasive ants
  • Lachnus roboris
  • Quercusilex

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