Research press release


Nature Communications

Ecology: Aphids take the rubbish out when there’s no front door

宿主植物の中で、完全に閉鎖された「虫こぶ」を巣として生息するアブラムシが、その植物の細胞壁を使って、排泄物の廃棄を行っていることを報告する論文が、今週、Nature Communicationsに掲載される。この研究結果は、このアブラムシが数か月にわたって外界から孤立した生活を送る過程を説明しており、宿主植物を利用して巣の掃除をするように進化した過程に関する手がかりをもたらしている。


Aphids living in a completely closed gall, or nest, use the plant walls to dispose of their waste, reports a study in Nature Communications this week. This explains how the aphids are able to live isolated from the outside world for several months, and sheds light on how they have evolved to use their host plants for nest cleaning.

Insects, such as aphids, form growths known as galls on their host plant that function as both a home and a food source for the insects. These galls most often have an opening, which makes foraging, defense and waste disposal simple. However, some social aphid colonies - made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals - form completely closed galls, presenting a problem for disposing of their waste product - honey dew - that collects inside the gall. Takema Fukatsu and colleagues studied and compared different aphid species that formed open and closed galls. They discovered that for the aphids living in closed galls the inner surface of the gall is specialised for absorbing water. This therefore removes the honeydew waste via the plant vascular system, solving the problem of having no obvious waste disposal exit.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms2187

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