Aphids Playing Possum – Defensive or Mutualistic Response?
Paper presents the phenomenon of thanatosis or death-feigning in selected aphids species. This specific reaction was predominantly analysed on the example of aphid subfamily Lachninae. Individuals of this group were used in experiments, during which a thanatotic response was induced with various results. The response differed from prolonged thanatosis, lasting for several minutes (Eulachnus rileyi), through shrinking behaviour (e. g. in Stomaphis graffii) to non-responsive species such as Cinara (Schizolachnus) pineti. The large interspecies variation of observed responses can be linked to other defensive mechanisms existing in the studied species, as well as to their mutualistic relationship with ants. The behaviour of shrinking is hypothesized to be the mutualistic response, developed from thanatosis, and being adapted to transportation by ant workers.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10905-018-9662-4
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