Collective defense in non-myrmecophilous aphid species and their evolution
Because of their high reproduction rate, aphid colonies are particularly attractive for predators and parasitoids, which has driven the evolution of various defence mechanisms. In louse colonies that are not associated with ants, physical and chemical defence helps to keep natural enemies away. In some louse species, such as Aphis nerii (oleander aphid) and Uroleucon hypochoeridis, interesting collective defence behaviours can be observed in the form of synchronous abdominal movements (wriggling) and rapid kicking movements of the hind legs. In this project, the defence behaviour was investigated in 140 plant louse colonies (66 species). Based on the genes COI, EF-1α and LWO, it was also possible to create the most comprehensive phylogeny for the Aphididae.
FWF project P 25709: Collective defense in non-myrmecophilous aphid species and their evolution.