Location: Systematic Entomology LaboratoryTitle: Trophobiosis between a new species of Acropyga (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and new Neochavesia (Hemiptera: Xenococcidae) from Peru, and establishment of the Acropyga smithii species-group
|LAPOLLA, JOHN - Towson University|
Submitted to: ZooKeys
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2023
Publication Date: 3/17/2023
Citation: Lapolla, J.S., Schneider, S.A. 2023. Trophobiosis between a new species of Acropyga (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and new Neochavesia (Hemiptera: Xenococcidae) from Peru, and establishment of the Acropyga smithii species-group. ZooKeys. 1154:1-16. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.1154.97578.
Interpretive Summary: Root mealybugs are an understudied group of scale insects, despite their potential, and often demonstrated, importance to agriculture. The group is relatively understudied due to their underground habit, but they are known to feed on crops and their populations are often protected from natural enemies by associated ants. This study describes a pair of new symbiotic ant and root mealybug species discovered in Peru. It provides further knowledge on an intimate symbiotic relationship between these ant and scale partners, which has evolved over the last 30 million years. This study has significance not only to agricultural research but to basic scientific research about the ecology of mutualisms.
Technical Abstract: We describe a new pair of trophobiotic partners from the ant genus Acropyga and the root mealybug genus Neochavesia. A recent field study on Acropyga ants and associated root mealybugs, conducted in the Peruvian Amazon, led to the discovery of Acropyga manuense LaPolla and Schneider, sp. nov. and its root mealybug symbiont Neochavesia podexuta Schneider and LaPolla, sp. nov. The new root mealybug belongs to the family Xenococcidae, whose members are all obligate associates of Acropyga ants. Providing joint descriptions of new mutualist partners in the same article is a novel approach for this system, and it offers benefits to the ongoing study of mutualism and patterns of association among these symbiotic ants and scales. Here, we also begin to revise the species-group composition of Acropyga by establishing the smithii species-group, and we provide updated information to aid in identifying the new ant species and root mealybug species.