Ants affect citrus pests and their natural enemies in contrasting ways
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AuthorAnjos, Diego V.; Tena, Alejandro; Torezan-Silingardi, Helena M.; Pekas, Apostolos; Janssen, Arne
Cita bibliográficaAnjos, D. V., Tena, A., Torezan-Silingardi, H. M., Pekas, A. & Janssen, A. (2021). Ants affect citrus pests and their natural enemies in contrasting ways. Biological Control, 158, 104611.
Ants are one of the most abundant insect groups in citrus orchards. They help in controlling pests, but they can also facilitate the outbreak of other pests, such as those that produce honeydew. Moreover, ants can also affect natural enemies of pests. Here, we review how ants affect pest abundance, considering whether the pest produces honeydew and whether it spends part of its life-cycle in the soil (edaphic stages). We also investigated the effects of the presence of ants on natural enemies with a meta-analysis and how this effect is modified by honeydew production by the pest, the most abundant ant species, and the specialization and mode of dispersal (winged or wingless) of the natural enemy. The presence of ants decreased the abundance of non-honeydew producing pests, but increased the abundance of honeydew producers. Ants increased the abundance of pests without edaphic stages, but decreased pests with such stages. In addition, the identity of the most abundant ant species affected the abundance of natural enemies; the ants Iridomyrmex rufoniger and Lasius grandis had a negative impact whereas other ant species did not affect the abundance of natural enemies. Moreover, the presence of ants decreased the abundance of generalist and winged natural enemies of honeydew-producing pests. Our review provides crucial information on the effects of ants on biological control practices in citrus orchards, and increases our understanding of the relationships between ants, pests and their natural enemies.