Natural biological control of the pine processionary moth Thaumetopoea pityocampa (Den. & Schiff.) by the Argentine ant Linepithema humile (Mayr) in Portugal

  • Way M
  • Paiva M
 et al. 
  • 36


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 18


    Citations of this article.


Summary 1 Defoliation by larvae of the pine processionary moth, Thaumetopoea pityocampa, is negligible in stands of Pinus pinaster colonized by the Argentine ant Linepithema humile which preys fiercely on the young moth larvae. In contrast, such damage is widespread where pine plantations are colonized by native ants, predominantly Tapinoma nigerrimum and Lasius niger, which seemingly disregard the larvae. 2 Where L. humile- and native ant-occupied sectors adjoin, there is a 20-50 m overlap in the transition area between L. humile- and native ant-occupied pines. This was most evident in a > 500 ha plantation where there was severe or very severe T. pityocampa attack in native ant sectors contrasting with none in adjoining L. humile sectors. 3 Predation by L. humile is no doubt enhanced by its existence as super-colonies over very large areas, by its foraging activity and recruitment on trees throughout the time when T. pityocampa and other prey are present, and by honeydew- producing Homoptera which help retain foraging L. humile workers in pine tree crowns. 4 The role of L. humile could be enhanced by cultivations that disturb the soil and restrain ground vegetation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • biological control
  • linepithema humile
  • pinus pinaster
  • portugal
  • predation
  • thaumetopoea pityocampa

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text


  • M J Way

  • M J Way

  • Maria Rosa Paiva

  • M R Paiva

  • M E Cammell

  • M E Cammell

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free