Ant-aphid association: role of aphid alarm pheromone

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  25 Jun 1976:
Vol. 192, Issue 4246, pp. 1349-1351
DOI: 10.1126/science.1273595


When attacked by predators, aphids secrete alarm pheromones that cause nearby aphids to disperse. Ant-associated (myrmecophilous) aphid species disperse less readily than nonmyrmecophilous species. The ant Formica subsericea responds to aphid alarm pheromone in a way that is beneficial to the aphid. These findings support our hypothesis that myrmecophilous aphids depend more on ants for protection from predators than on their own dispersive powers.