A trail pheromone mediates the mutualism between ants and aphids

Li Chen
Mutualisms, like the ones between ants and aphids, evolve and persist when benefits outweigh the costs from the interactions between the partners. We show here that the trail pheromone of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, can enhance these benefits by suppressing aphid walking dispersal and stimulating their reproduction. The cotton aphid, Aphis gossypii, was found to readily perceive and respond to two specific trail pheromonal components. Both Z,E-a-farnesene and E,E-a-farnesene suppressed walking dispersal...
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