Determined Aphid and Ant Associations from Trabzon, Rize and Artvin Provinces of the Turkey
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Aphids and ant species are both diverse and extremely succesful groups of insects and often share the same habitats and therefore both have many oportunities to interact with each other. It has been shown that aphid-ant relationships have been shaped by various factors particularly aphid host plant's physological features, honeydew composition, feeding position and so on. Despite there are more than 500 aphid species and about 315 ant taxon in Turkey, there are very few studies conducted on their mutual relationship. This study was carried out in the Trabzon, Rize and Artvin provinces of Turkey. As a result of the evaluation of samples, it was determined that 48 aphid species associated with 15 ant species. The most encountered ant species, which interacted with different number of aphid species, were Formica cinereofusca Karawaiew, 1929, Lasius turcicus Santschi, 1921 and Lasius emarginatus (Olivier, 1792). Among determined aphid species Aphis fabae Scopoli, 1763 had the highest ant attraction and then Brachycaudus cardui (Linnaeus, 1758), Aphis gossypii Glover, 1877, Aphis spiraecola Patch, 1914, Cinara pilicornis (Hartig, 1841) and Toxoptera aurantii Boyer de Fonscolombe, 1841 respectively. Determined aphid-ant associations are shaped by both ecological conditions of the study area, composition of aphid and ant populations and it was shown that there is no new aphid-ant species association. Findings of the presented study indicated that much more detailed study should be conducted to investigate aphid-ant mutualistic associations in Turkey.