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Volume 94, Issue 1-2, Pages 81-91

Homopteran Attendance by Wasps and Ants: The Stochastic Nature of Interactions

1Board of Environmental Studies, 407 Kerr Hall, University of California, Santa Cruz 95064, California, USA
2The Biological Laboratories, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge 02138, Mass., USA

Received 3 February 1987

This article is in the public domain. This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.


Associations of Hymenoptera with Homoptera have intrigued ecologists and evolutionary biologists as model systems of mutualism. The extensive body of literature, however, tends to be skewed to the interactions between ants and homopteran trophobionts in the Aphidae or Coccoidea (e.g., Kloft et al. 1965, Nixon 1951, Way 1963, Wilson 1971). In the following account we document a web of multispecies interactions within and between trophic levels, involving a species of wasp, several species of ants, and two species of Homoptera. This account is unique in the literature on Hymenoptera-Homoptera associations because it (1) addresses observable interference between hymenopteran attendants, (2) reports behavioral preference by homopterans for certain hymenopreran attendants, and (3) describes an interaction between a polistine wasp and an aetalionid planthopper. In addition, this study has general implications about the quality of diffuse and multiple associations between Homoptera and their honeydew foragers.