Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 426–435 | Cite as

Transport and Dispersal of Stictococcus Vayssierei (Hemiptera, Stictococcidae) by Anoplolepis Tenella (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

  • Apollin Kuate Fotso
  • Rachid Hanna
  • Maurice Tindo
  • Peter Nagel


Dispersal can be a crucial factor affecting fitness in insects. We conducted a series of experiments and observations with the aim of determining the dispersal mode of the African root and tuber scale Stictococcus vayssierei, a pest on cassava in the Congo Basin. We monitored the main options of dispersal that occurred in scale insects: wandering of first-instar nymphs (crawlers), active dispersal by ant workers, phoresis on colony-founding queen ants, and passive dispersal by wind. Results showed that A. tenella workers are actively involved in the transport and dissemination of scale crawlers. When ants were excluded, crawlers could move by themselves for a short distance to find the host plant. In the presence of ants, crawlers were transported by ant workers for longer distance across the bridge and established on scale-free plants. Scales transport increased with the duration of the experiment and ant density. Neither a case of phoresis nor dispersal by wind was recorded, suggesting that passive dispersal is rare. These results outline the active role of A. tenella workers in the dispersal of immature stages of S. vayssierei in Southern Cameroon and have implication in the management of the scale on cassava.


Anoplolepis tenella Stictococcus vayssierei active dispersal wind dispersal phoresis 



This work was supported by special project funds provided to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture by the Research Fellow Partnership Program (RFPP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).


  1. Beardsley JW, Gonzalez RH (1975) Biology and ecology of armored scales. Annu Rev Entomol 20:47–73CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Buschinger A, Heinze J, Jessen K, Dowes P, Winter U (1987) First European record of a queen ant carrying a mealybug during her mating flight. Naturwissenschaften 74:139–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Das GM (1959) Observations on the association of ants with coccids of tea. Bull Entomol Res 50:437–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fotso Kuate A, Tindo M, Hanna R, Kenne M, Goergen G (2008) Foraging activity and diet of the ant, Anoplolepis tenella Santschi (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in southern Cameroon. Afr Entomol 16:107–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gaume L, Matile-Ferrero D, McKey D (2000) Colony foundation and acquisition of coccoid trophobionts by Aphomomyrmex afer (Formicinae): co-dispersal of queens and phoretic mealybugs in an ant-plant-homopteran mutualism? Insectes Soc 47:84–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Greathead DJ (1972) Dispersal of the sugar-cane scale Aulacaspis tegalensis (Zhnt) (Hem, Diaspididae) by air currents. Bull Entomol Res 61:547–558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Greathead DJ (1990) Crawler behaviour and dispersal. In: Rosen D (ed) Armored scale insects: their biology, natural enemies and control. Elsevier Scientific Publishers, Amsterdam, pp 305–308Google Scholar
  8. Greathead DJ (1997) Crawler behaviour and dispersal. In: Ben-Dov, Y and Hodgson, C J (ed) Soft scale insects - their biology, natural enemies and control, Elsevier Science BV, pp 339–342Google Scholar
  9. Gullan PJ (1997) Relationship with ants. In: Ben-Dov Y and Hodgson CJ (ed) Soft scale insects - their biology, natural enemies and control. Elsevier Science BV, pp 351–373Google Scholar
  10. Gullan PJ, Kosztarab M (1997) Adaptation in scale insects. Annu Rev Entomol 42:23–50CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Handa C, Ueda S, Tanaka H, Takao Itino T, Itioka T (2012) How do scale insects settle into the nests of plant-ants on Macaranga Myrmecophytes? Dispersal by wind and selection by plant-ants sociobiology 59:1–12Google Scholar
  12. Hanna R, Tindo M, Wijnans L, Goergen G, Tata Hangy K, Lema K, Toko M, Ngeve JM, Dixon A, Gockowski J (2004) The African root and tuber scale problem in Central Africa: the nature of the problem and the search for control options. In: Book of Abstracts of the 9th Triennial Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops - Africa Branch, 31 October–5 November 2004, Mombasa, Kenya, pp 57Google Scholar
  13. Jahn GC, And Beardsley JW (1996) Effects of Pheidole megacephala (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on survival and dispersal of Dysmicoccus neobrevipes (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae). J Econ Entomol 89:1124–1129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Johnson C, Agosti D, Delabie JHC, Dumpert K, William DJ, Tschirnhaus MV, Maschwitz U (2001) Acropyga and Azteca Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with scale insects (Sternorrhyncha: Coccoidea): 20 million years of intimate symbiosis. Am Mus Novit 3335:1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kishimoto-Yamada K, Itioka T, Kawai S (2005) Biological characterization of the obligate symbiosis between Acropyga sauteri Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Eumyrmococcus smithii Silvestri (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae: Rhizoecinae) on OkinawaIsland, southern Japan. J Nat Hist 39(40):3501–3524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Klein RW, Kovac D, Schellerich, Maschwitz U (1992) Mealybug-carrying by swarming queens of a Southeast Asian bamboo-inhabiting ant. Naturwissenschaften 79:422–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Malsch AKF, Kaufmann E, Heckroth H-P, Williams DJ, Maryati M, Maschwitz U (2001) Continuous transfer of subterranean mealybugs (Hemiptera, Pseudococcidae) by Pseudolasius spp (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) during colony fission? Insectes soc 48:333–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nondillo A, Sganzerla VMA, Bueno OC, Botton M (2013) Interaction between Linepithema micans (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Eurhizococcus brasiliensis (Hemiptera: Margarodidae) in Vineyards. Environ Entomol 42:460–466CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. SAS (2008) SAS software 92. SAS Institute Inc, CaryGoogle Scholar
  20. Smith MR (1942) The relationship of ants and other organisms to certain scale insects on coffee in Puerto Rico. J Agr Univ Puert Rico 26:21–27Google Scholar
  21. Washbum O, Washburn L (1984) Active aerial dispersal of minute wingless arthropods: exploitation of boundary-layer velocity gradients. Science 223:1088–1089CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Washburn JO, Frankie GW (1981) Dispersal of a scale insect, Pulvinariella mesembryanthemi (Homoptera: Coccoidea) on iceplant in California. Environ Entomol 10:724–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Way MJ (1954) Studies on the association of the ant Oecophylla longinoda (Latr) (Formicidae) with the scale insects Saissetia zanzibarensis Williams (Coccidae). Bull Entomol Res 45:113–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Williams ML (1997) The immature stages. In: Ben-Dov Y and Hodgson CJ (ed) Soft scale insects - their biology, natural enemies and control. Elsevier Science BV, pp 31–48Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Apollin Kuate Fotso
    • 1
  • Rachid Hanna
    • 1
  • Maurice Tindo
    • 2
  • Peter Nagel
    • 3
  1. 1.International Institute of Tropical AgricultureYaoundé-MessaCameroon
  2. 2.Department of Animal BiologyUniversity of DoualaDoualaRepublic of Cameroon
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations