Changes in monoterpene emission rates of quercus ilex infested by aphids tended by native or invasive lasius ant species

Carolina I. Paris, Joan Llusia, Josep Peñuelas

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    11 Citations (Scopus)


    The emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) depends on temperature and light. Other factors such as insect herbivory also may modify VOC emission. In particular, aphid feeding promotes the release of new compounds and changes the composition of plant volatile blends. Given that some aphids are tended by ants, we investigated whether ants change the emission of VOCs indirectly through attendance on aphids. The effect of Lachnus roboris aphids and two different tending ant species on terpene emission rates of 4-year-old holm oak (Quercus ilex) saplings was investigated during a field experiment. There were five treatments: saplings alone (T1), saplings infested with L. roboris aphids (T2), saplings infested with aphids tended by the local ant Lasius grandis (T3), those tended by small colonies of the invasive ant Lasius neglectus (T4), and those tended by large colonies of the same invasive ant species (T5). The infestation by L. roboris elicited the emission of Δ 3 -carene and increased the emission of myrcene and γ-terpinene. Terpene emissions were modified depending on the tending ant species. Attendance by the local ant L. grandis increased α and β-pinene and sabinene. Attendance by the invasive ant L. neglectus only decreased significantly the emission of myrcene, one of the major compounds of the Q. ilex blend. Aphid abundance decreased with time for all treatments, but there was no difference in aphid abundance among treatments. Total terpene emission rates were not correlated with aphid abundance. These results highlight that aphids and tending ants may change terpene emission rates, depending on the ant species. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)689-698
    JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2010


    • Aphid-ant interaction
    • Biotic factors
    • Indirect effect
    • Induced volatiles
    • Invasive ant species
    • Terpene emissions


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