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Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher K. Starr

Acropyga

  • John S. LaPollaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_182-1
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Synonyms

Trophobiont; Trophobiosis

Among ants, those that live by “agriculture” fall into two broad categories: fungus growers and herders [1]. The herding of scale insects (Coccomorpha) and aphids (Aphidoidea) by ants, a phenomenon termed trophobiosis, is widespread but usually facultative, with ants engaging in the behavior when they happen upon potential trophobionts. In trophobiotic systems, herder ants provide the trophobionts with protection from predation and parasitism in return for nutritive rewards. Honeydew is produced by scales and aphids as a means to rid their bodies of excess water that results from feeding on dilute sap, but it also contains many nutrients of value to the ants.

Acropyga and their trophobionts, predominantly species of root mealybugs (Rhizoecidae: Xenococcinae), represent one of the most widespread and specialized examples of obligatory trophobiosis (Fig. 1). Acropygaare small (typically less than 3 mm in body length) pantropical ants, with most...
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References

  1. 1.
    Ivens, A. B. (2015). Cooperation and conflict in ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) farming mutualisms – A review. Myrmecological News, 21, 19–36.
  2. 2.
    LaPolla, J. S. (2004). Acropyga (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the world. Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, 33, 1–130.
  3. 3.
    LaPolla, J. S. (2005). Ancient trophophoresy: A fossil Acropyga (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Dominican amber. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 131, 21–28.
  4. 4.
    LaPolla, J. S., Cover, S. P., & Mueller, U. G. (2002). Natural history of the mealybug-tending ant, Acropyga epedana, with descriptions of the male and queen castes. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 128, 367–376.
  5. 5.
    LaPolla, J. S., Burwell, C., Brady, S. G., & Miller, D. R. (2008). A new ortheziid (Hemiptera: Coccoidea) from Australia associated with Acropyga myops Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and a key to Australian Ortheziidae. Zootaxa, 1946, 55–68.
  6. 6.
    Schneider, S. A., & LaPolla, J. S. (2011). Systematics of the mealybug tribe Xenococcini (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae), with a discussion of trophobiotic associations with Acropyga Roger ants. Systematic Entomology, 36, 57–82.
  7. 7.
    Way, M. J. (1963). Mutualism between ants and honeydew-producing Homoptera. Annual Review of Entomology, 8, 307–344.
  8. 8.
    Williams, D. J. (1998). Mealybugs of the genera Eumyrmococcus Silvestri and Xenococcus Silvestri associated with the ant genus Acropyga Roger and a review of the subfamily Rhizoecinae (Hemiptera, Coccoidea, Pseudococcidae). Bulletin of The Natural History Museum, London, Entomology Series, 67, 1–64.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesTowson UniversityTowsonUSA