Extrafloral nectaries: a defense against ant-Homoptera mutualisms?

J. X I Becerra, David L Venable

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Extrafloral nectaries may sometimes function to defend plants from ant-Homoptera mutualisms by weaning ants onto a plant-controlled diet of nectar. Extrafloral nectaries can be favored even in the absence of ant defensive behavior. Many studies have shown no net, defensive benefit to plants of nectar feeding ants. Many nectar-feeding ants tend Homoptera which are major plant disease agents and which may profoundly alter plant architecture and physiology. Ants can be distracted from tending Homoptera by feeding them sugar and they may even destroy the Homoptera. Nectar has very similar chemical composition to honeydew and its collection does not require the extensive husbandry that tending Homoptera does. Nectary production increases during infestations of Homoptera. It is more difficult to produce chemical defenses against sap feeders than against chewing insects. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-280
Number of pages5
JournalOikos
Volume55
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989

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nectary
nectaries
Homoptera
ant
Formicidae
nectar
nectar feeding
sugar feeding
plant architecture
honeydew
defensive behavior
chemical defense
weaning
plant physiology
mastication
plant diseases and disorders
sap
defence
sugar
chemical composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Extrafloral nectaries : a defense against ant-Homoptera mutualisms? / Becerra, J. X I; Venable, David L.

In: Oikos, Vol. 55, No. 2, 1989, p. 276-280.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Becerra, J. X I ; Venable, David L. / Extrafloral nectaries : a defense against ant-Homoptera mutualisms?. In: Oikos. 1989 ; Vol. 55, No. 2. pp. 276-280.
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