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|Stadler, B; Dixon, AFG: Costs of ant attendance for aphids, J. of Animal Ecology, 67, 454-459 (1998)|
1. Interactions between aphids and ants are considered to be mutualistic, with both partners benefiting. Costs associated with such interactions are likely to be less obvious although they can be expected, especially if these associations are facultative.
2. Here it is demonstrated that there are costs in several life-history parameters to individual aphids resulting from ant-attendance. Over several generations Aphis fabae cirsiiacanthoides feedingon Cirsium arvense, at a range of developmental stages, suffered significant costs when tended by Lasius niger, e.g. in terms of a prolonged developmental time, delayed offspring production, proportionally smaller gonads, fewer well developed embryos and a reduced mean relative growth rate. These effects are similar to those observed when aphids feed on poor quality plants.
3. This is the first indication that there is a cost for aphids associated with ant-attendance. The significance of this for the evolution of ant-attendance in aphids is discussed.
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