Kick Out The Ants: A Novel and Striking Behavior in Ant-Wasp Interactions

Leonardo Samuel Ricioli, Gabriela C. Mendes, Rhainer Guillermo Ferreira


Trophobiosis between ants and homopterans is widely known. Nevertheless, this interaction can also happen between treehoppers and other animals in a non-mutualistic way. For instance, here we observed the wasp Pseudopolybia vespiceps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) collecting honeydew flickered by Aethalion reticulatum (Hemiptera: Cicadomorpha) as an alternative food resource. Fieldwork was conducted during three consecutive days, when we made ad libitum behavioral observations using video footage. We noted the behavior of P. vespiceps when collecting honeydew from A. reticulatum. Strikingly, our observations resulted in the description of novel wasp behavior. The wasps compete with ants for access to treehoppers by kicking them out of the plant. Studies like this contribute to the understanding of trophic nets that depend on hemipteran honeydew.


Kleptoparasitism; mutualism; foraging; competition; savannah; Brazil

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