Document Detail


Acoustic alarm signalling facilitates predator protection of treehoppers by mutualist ant bodyguards.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18480015     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Mutualism is a net positive interaction that includes varying degrees of both costs and benefits. Because tension between the costs and benefits of mutualism can lead to evolutionary instability, identifying mechanisms that regulate investment between partners is critical to understanding the evolution and maintenance of mutualism. Recently, studies have highlighted the importance of interspecific signalling as one mechanism for regulating investment between mutualist partners. Here, we provide evidence for interspecific alarm signalling in an insect protection mutualism and we demonstrate a functional link between this acoustic signalling and efficacy of protection. The treehopper Publilia concava Say (Hemiptera: Membracidae) is an insect that provides ants with a carbohydrate-rich excretion called honeydew in return for protection from predators. Adults of this species produce distinct vibrational signals in the context of predator encounters. In laboratory trials, putative alarm signal production significantly increased following initial contact with ladybeetle predators (primarily Harmonia axyridis Pallas, Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), but not following initial contact with ants. In field trials, playback of a recorded treehopper alarm signal resulted in a significant increase in both ant activity and the probability of ladybeetle discovery by ants relative to both silence and treehopper courtship signal controls. Our results show that P. concava treehoppers produce alarm signals in response to predator threat and that this signalling can increase effectiveness of predator protection by ants.
Authors:
Manuel A Morales; Jennifer L Barone; Charles S Henry
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  275     ISSN:  0962-8452     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  2008 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-07-01     Completed Date:  2008-09-23     Revised Date:  2013-06-05    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1935-41     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267, USA. mmorales@williams.edu
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Acoustics
Animal Communication*
Animals
Ants*
Beetles
Biological Evolution
Female
Hemiptera*
Male
Predatory Behavior
Symbiosis*
Grant Support
ID/Acronym/Agency:
//Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Comments/Corrections

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