Effects of a Native Ant, Pristomyrmex pungens (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on the Population Dynamics and Spatial Distribution of the Invasive Mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)

Jun Huang


The mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis has been recently reported as a serious invasive insect pest in China. Earlier investigations suggest that some species of native ants may tend P solenopsis in the field, and affect the population number and spatial distribution of P solenopsis. To confirm this, we studied the relationship between P solenopsis and the native ant Pristomyrmex pungens on Dendranthema morifolium plants in a garden spot. We found there was a significant positive correlation between population numbers of P solenopsis and P pungens, and the less the distance from nest, the greater the quantity of P solenopsis. Additionally, the mean number of P solenopsis increased significantly in the presence of P pungens. P solenopsis and P pungens had strong crowding tendencies and these individuals were attracted to each other on all investigated dates except on August 6. Our results suggest the presence of P pungens has effects on the population numbers and spatial distribution of P solenopsis on D. morifolium plants, and this relationship between them may have an important effect on the population explosion and dispersal of the invasive mealybug.


mealybug; biological invasion; spatial distribution; Phenacoccus solenopsis; Pristomyrmex pungens

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v59i3.891


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