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Abstract

▪ Abstract 

Aphids and ants are two abundant and highly successful insect groups, which often live in the same habitat and therefore are likely to interact with one another. Whether the outcome of such an interaction is a predator-prey or mutualistic one is dependent on what each partner has to offer relative to the needs of the other. Consequently, understanding why some aphids enter mutualistic interactions with ants is dependent on understanding the physiological, ecological, and evolutionary traits of both partners. This includes an appreciation of the spatial, temporal, and taxonomic context in which mutualistic interactions developed. In this review, we use aphid-ant interactions to illustrate the whole range of interactions from antagonistic to mutualistic as well as to identify the processes affecting the degree of association and in particular the context within which such interactions evolved. The constraints of establishing and maintaining beneficial interactions between aphids and ants is addressed from a cost-benefit perspective. Prospects for future research are identified to further the understanding of the patterns and processes associated with aphid-ant relationships.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.36.091704.175531
2005-12-15
2024-04-17
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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