Treehoppers Transfer Parental Care to Ants: A New Benefit of Mutualism

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Science  29 Apr 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4596, pp. 532-533
DOI: 10.1126/science.220.4596.532


Female treehoppers (Publilia reticulata Van Duzee) modify their parental care behavior in the presence of ants. Females with untended young remain with their original brood, but females from ant-tended colonies readily desert their first brood and produce additional clutches. Care by female treehoppers, in the absence of ants, increases the probability that a colony will produce some survivors, but ant attendance greatly increases the number of surviving nymphs.