Knowledge of the role of ants in many agroecosystems is relatively scarce, and in temperate regions the possibility to exploit ants as biocontrol agents for crop protection is still largely unexplored. Drawing inspiration from mutualistic ant-plant relationships mediated by extrafloral nectaries (EFNs), we tested the use of artificial nectaries (ANs) in order to increase ant activity on pear trees and to evaluate the effects on the arthropods, plant health and fruit production. While EFNs secrete a complex solution mainly composed of sugars and amino acids, ANs were filled with water and sucrose only. The results suggest that ANs can be used as manipulative instruments to increase ant activity over long periods of time. High ant activity was significantly linked to lower incidence of the pathogen fungus Venturia pyrina (pear scab) on pear leaves, and of the presence of Cydia pomonella (codling moth) caterpillars on pear fruit production. These results further encourage exploring underrated possibilities in the development of new tools for conservation biological control (CBC).

New Tools for Conservation Biological Control: Testing Ant-Attracting Artificial Nectaries to Employ Ants as Plant Defenders / Schifani, Enrico; Castracani, Cristina; Giannetti, Daniele; Spotti, Fiorenza Augusta; Reggiani, Roberto; Leonardi, Stefano; Mori, Alessandra; Grasso, Donato Antonio. - In: INSECTS. - ISSN 2075-4450. - 11:2(2020), pp. 1-21. [10.3390/insects11020129]

New Tools for Conservation Biological Control: Testing Ant-Attracting Artificial Nectaries to Employ Ants as Plant Defenders

Schifani, Enrico
;
Castracani, Cristina
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Giannetti, Daniele
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Spotti, Fiorenza Augusta
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Reggiani, Roberto
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Leonardi, Stefano
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Mori, Alessandra
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Grasso, Donato Antonio
Membro del Collaboration Group
2020

Abstract

Knowledge of the role of ants in many agroecosystems is relatively scarce, and in temperate regions the possibility to exploit ants as biocontrol agents for crop protection is still largely unexplored. Drawing inspiration from mutualistic ant-plant relationships mediated by extrafloral nectaries (EFNs), we tested the use of artificial nectaries (ANs) in order to increase ant activity on pear trees and to evaluate the effects on the arthropods, plant health and fruit production. While EFNs secrete a complex solution mainly composed of sugars and amino acids, ANs were filled with water and sucrose only. The results suggest that ANs can be used as manipulative instruments to increase ant activity over long periods of time. High ant activity was significantly linked to lower incidence of the pathogen fungus Venturia pyrina (pear scab) on pear leaves, and of the presence of Cydia pomonella (codling moth) caterpillars on pear fruit production. These results further encourage exploring underrated possibilities in the development of new tools for conservation biological control (CBC).
New Tools for Conservation Biological Control: Testing Ant-Attracting Artificial Nectaries to Employ Ants as Plant Defenders / Schifani, Enrico; Castracani, Cristina; Giannetti, Daniele; Spotti, Fiorenza Augusta; Reggiani, Roberto; Leonardi, Stefano; Mori, Alessandra; Grasso, Donato Antonio. - In: INSECTS. - ISSN 2075-4450. - 11:2(2020), pp. 1-21. [10.3390/insects11020129]
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Schifani_et_al_Insects-2020.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Documento in Post-print
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 1.08 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
1.08 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2872325
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 10
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 10
social impact