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Multi-trait mimicry of ants by a parasitoid wasp.

Malcicka M, Bezemer TM, Visser B, Bloemberg M, Snart CJ, Hardy IC, Harvey JA - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: Many animals avoid attack from predators through toxicity or the emission of repellent chemicals.Here we report on a wingless parasitoid wasp that exhibits a full spectrum of traits mimicing ants and affording protection against ground-dwelling predators (wolf spiders).In body size, morphology and movement Gelis agilis (Ichneumonidae) is highly similar to the black garden ant (Lasius niger) that shares the same habitat.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: VU University Amsterdam, Department of Ecological Sciences, Section Animal Ecology, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081HV Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Many animals avoid attack from predators through toxicity or the emission of repellent chemicals. Defensive mimicry has evolved in many species to deceive shared predators, for instance through colouration and other morphological adaptations, but mimicry hardly ever seems to involve multi-trait similarities. Here we report on a wingless parasitoid wasp that exhibits a full spectrum of traits mimicing ants and affording protection against ground-dwelling predators (wolf spiders). In body size, morphology and movement Gelis agilis (Ichneumonidae) is highly similar to the black garden ant (Lasius niger) that shares the same habitat. When threatened, G. agilis also emits a volatile chemical that is similar to an ant-produced chemical that repels spiders. In bioassays with L. niger, G. agilis, G. areator, Cotesia glomerata and Drosophila melanogaster, ants and G. agilis were virtually immune to spider attack, in contrast the other species were not. Volatile characterisation with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry identified G. agilis emissions as 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, a known insect defence semiochemical that acts as an alarm pheromone in ants. We argue that multi-trait mimicry, as observed in G. agilis, might be much more common among animals than currently realized.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

(A) Mean percentage of prey consumed by wolf spiders in paired choice tests. In A * = P < 0.05; ** = P < 0.01; in B bars with different letters are significantly different (P < 0.05). (B) Mean percentage of prey consumed by wolf spiders in non-choice tests.
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f2: (A) Mean percentage of prey consumed by wolf spiders in paired choice tests. In A * = P < 0.05; ** = P < 0.01; in B bars with different letters are significantly different (P < 0.05). (B) Mean percentage of prey consumed by wolf spiders in non-choice tests.

Mentions: To test whether ant-mimicry by Gelis agilis reduces predator attack rates, wolf spiders were exposed to adults of the ant Lasius niger, Gelis agilis, Gelis areator (another secondary hyperparasitoid), Cotesia glomerata (a primary parasitoid ) and Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) in choice and non-choice bioassays performed in closed arenas over 18 hour periods. When given no choice, spiders killed and consumed virtually all D. melanogaster, which, in spite of possessing wings, were highly susceptible to attack. Cotesia glomerata and G. areator suffered significantly higher predation than G. agilis and L. niger (χ2 = 191.7, DF = 4, P < 0.0001; Fig. 2a–b). Similar patterns were obtained in choice experiments (Fig. 2a–b). Moreover, virtually no insects died from natural causes; they were either alive at the end of the observation period or consumed by the spiders.


Multi-trait mimicry of ants by a parasitoid wasp.

Malcicka M, Bezemer TM, Visser B, Bloemberg M, Snart CJ, Hardy IC, Harvey JA - Sci Rep (2015)

(A) Mean percentage of prey consumed by wolf spiders in paired choice tests. In A * = P < 0.05; ** = P < 0.01; in B bars with different letters are significantly different (P < 0.05). (B) Mean percentage of prey consumed by wolf spiders in non-choice tests.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4306968&req=5

f2: (A) Mean percentage of prey consumed by wolf spiders in paired choice tests. In A * = P < 0.05; ** = P < 0.01; in B bars with different letters are significantly different (P < 0.05). (B) Mean percentage of prey consumed by wolf spiders in non-choice tests.
Mentions: To test whether ant-mimicry by Gelis agilis reduces predator attack rates, wolf spiders were exposed to adults of the ant Lasius niger, Gelis agilis, Gelis areator (another secondary hyperparasitoid), Cotesia glomerata (a primary parasitoid ) and Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) in choice and non-choice bioassays performed in closed arenas over 18 hour periods. When given no choice, spiders killed and consumed virtually all D. melanogaster, which, in spite of possessing wings, were highly susceptible to attack. Cotesia glomerata and G. areator suffered significantly higher predation than G. agilis and L. niger (χ2 = 191.7, DF = 4, P < 0.0001; Fig. 2a–b). Similar patterns were obtained in choice experiments (Fig. 2a–b). Moreover, virtually no insects died from natural causes; they were either alive at the end of the observation period or consumed by the spiders.

Bottom Line: Many animals avoid attack from predators through toxicity or the emission of repellent chemicals.Here we report on a wingless parasitoid wasp that exhibits a full spectrum of traits mimicing ants and affording protection against ground-dwelling predators (wolf spiders).In body size, morphology and movement Gelis agilis (Ichneumonidae) is highly similar to the black garden ant (Lasius niger) that shares the same habitat.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: VU University Amsterdam, Department of Ecological Sciences, Section Animal Ecology, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081HV Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Many animals avoid attack from predators through toxicity or the emission of repellent chemicals. Defensive mimicry has evolved in many species to deceive shared predators, for instance through colouration and other morphological adaptations, but mimicry hardly ever seems to involve multi-trait similarities. Here we report on a wingless parasitoid wasp that exhibits a full spectrum of traits mimicing ants and affording protection against ground-dwelling predators (wolf spiders). In body size, morphology and movement Gelis agilis (Ichneumonidae) is highly similar to the black garden ant (Lasius niger) that shares the same habitat. When threatened, G. agilis also emits a volatile chemical that is similar to an ant-produced chemical that repels spiders. In bioassays with L. niger, G. agilis, G. areator, Cotesia glomerata and Drosophila melanogaster, ants and G. agilis were virtually immune to spider attack, in contrast the other species were not. Volatile characterisation with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry identified G. agilis emissions as 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, a known insect defence semiochemical that acts as an alarm pheromone in ants. We argue that multi-trait mimicry, as observed in G. agilis, might be much more common among animals than currently realized.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus