Click on image to enlarge.
Scientific name: Arthropoda: Insecta: Homoptera: Aphididae:
Common Name: aphid 1
Photographer: D. S. Kjar
Identifier: E. M. Barrows
Many ant species "farm" aphids (= ant-cows, plantlice) for honeydew, a sugary aphid excretion (Barrows 2001). The ants often chase away competitors for the honeydew and parasites and predators that could harm the aphids. Both ants and aphids can benefit from their interrelationship. Individual ants may return to the same aphid groups from day to day (Ebbers and Barrows 1980).
Figure 1. Campanotus ants with aphids from which they obtain honeydew. The aphids are feeding on Acer negundo (= Ash-leaved Maple, Boxelder). Several aphid species feed on maples (Westcott 1973, page 81).
Figure 2. An aphid predator (a flower fly larva, Syrphidae) with the aphids.
Figure 3. A closer view of the aphids.
Figure 4. The same aphids and syrphid larva.
The movie is in three sections. The first is of normal activity around the aphids, the second is when agitated, the third section is a high power close up of the aphids.
Barrows, E. M. 2001. Animal Behavior Desk Reference. A Dictionary of Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution. Second Edition. CRC Press LCC, Boca Raton, FL. 922 pp.
Ebbers, B. C. and E. M. Barrows. 1980. Individual ants specialize on particular aphid herds (Hymenoptera; Formicidae, Homoptera: Aphididae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 82: 401–407.
Westcott, Cynthia. 1973. The Gardener's Bug Book. Fourth Edition. Doubleday and Company, Garden City, NY. 689 pp.