n African Entomology - A novel trophobiosis between ants (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) and a palm-feeding planthopper (Hemiptera : Cixiidae) : short communications

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



Phloem-feeding Hemiptera ( Sternorrhyncha, Fulgoromorpha and most Membracoidea) produce honeydew in amounts that often exceed the insect body mass several times per hour (Larsen 1992). Although honeydew is a valuable food source for many insects, most Hemiptera just spray or kick it away. Trophobiotic interactions with Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) is common only in Coccoidea, Aphididae and Membracidae, but rare in other hemipteran lineages (Delabie 2001). Within Fulgoromorpha, trophobiosis is known only from a few groundand cave-living taxa (Delphacidae, Hypochthonellidae, Meenoplidae, Fulgoridae, nymphs of some Cixiidae : Hoch 2006 ; Humphreys 1998 ; Naskrecki & Nishida 2007) and from many Tettigometridae, the latter with several adaptations to ant-attendance (Bourgoin 1997 ; Dejean 2000).

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