Canadian Journal of Zoology (2002) 80, 2131-2136

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Edward B. Mondor and Bernard D. Roitberg (2002)
Pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, cornicle ontogeny as an adaptation to differential predation risk
Canadian Journal of Zoology 80 (12), 2131-2136
Abstract: Aphids possess unique anatomical structures called cornicles through which a defensive secretion containing alarm pheromone is often emitted when a predator attacks an aphid. The levels of alarm pheromone in cornicle droplets from the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris), vary considerably during development; however, it is not clear how the length of the cornicle changes during ontogeny. The length of the cornicle relative to the lengths of other body structures may have profound effects on aphid defense and alarm signal diffusion. Using previously published morphological measurements of pea aphids and observing interactions between pea aphids and multicolored Asian ladybird beetles, Harmonia axyridis Pallas, it was observed that pea aphid cornicles elongate proportionally more than other body parts during the first four instars, when alarm-pheromone levels have peaked, than during the fifth (adult) instar, when pheromone levels decline. Pea aphids also are more likely to emit cornicle droplets and daub them onto a predator when the cornicles are undergoing such rapid growth. We suggest that because of a high risk of predation, rapid cornicle growth in juveniles has evolved both for individual defense and for the inclusive fitness benefits of alarm signaling.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website


Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Acyrthosiphon pisum
Harmonia axyridis (predator) Acyrthosiphon pisum