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Trophic Associations of Ants with Aphid Partners and New Distribution Records of some Ants in Pothwar Region of Pakistan

Trophic Associations of Ants with Aphid Partners and New Distribution Records of some Ants in Pothwar Region of Pakistan

Ammara Gull-E-Fareen1, 3, Imran Bodlah1*, Muhammad Tariq Rasheed1, Yasir Niaz2, Muhammad Adnan Bodlah2, Muhammad Asif4 and Nasir M. Khokhar5

1Insect Biodiversity and Conservation Group, Department of Entomology, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
2Fareed Biodiversity and Conservation Centre,Department of Agricultural Engineering, Khawaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology, Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab, Pakistan
3Department of Environmental Sciences, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
4Agricultural Linkages Program (ALP), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad, Pakistan
5Natural Sciences Linkages Programme, Pakistan Science Foundation Islamabad

*      Corresponding author: imranbodlah@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Ants are the economically important and metropolitan insects on earth. They act as soil engineers, scavengers, decomposers, predators, pollinators and herbivores. The mutualistic relationship between ants and aphids is a very common and widespread phenomenon. It has been studied in various parts of the world. In this relationship, aphids provide food to the ants, while in return ants provide them protection from natural enemies. Ants also protect aphids from different diseases. Aphids (serious crop pests) can be divided into myrmecophilous and non- myrmecophilous. The main objective of this study was to determine trophic associations of ants associated with aphids on various host plants in Pothwar. For this purpose, seven ant species were selected, identified as Camponotus compressus (Fabricius, 1787), Formica fusca Linnaeus, 1758, Formica clara Forel, 1886, Lepisiota frauenfeldi (Mayr, 1855), Myrmica aimonissabaudiae Menozzi, 1939, Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius, 1793) and Tetraponera allaborans (Walker, 1859). A lot of surveys were conducted during 2015-17 for the collection of ants associated with aphids on different host plants in different localities of Pothwar region. As a result of surveys, ant-aphid new mutualistic trophic associations were determined like Camponotus compressus with 12, Formica fusca 1, Formica clara 2, Lepisiota frauenfeldi 9, Myrmica aimonissabaudiae 4, Tapinoma melanocephalum 11 and Tetraponera allaborans with 1 new association in various localities of Pothwar on different host plants have been reported. All these associations are recorded for the first time from Pakistan. Trophic associations of studied ants with aphids on different host plants, their world distribution and comments on observed new associations have been given. New distribution records of ant’s species have also been provided. 
 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

February

Vol. 53, Iss. 1, Pages 1-400

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