American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Does Trichomes on the Plant Epidermic Surface Disturb Ants Locomotion?

Danon Clemes Cardoso, Maykon Passos Cristiano, Lenise Cristina Moraes Vilela and Tiago de Arruda Martins

DOI : 10.3844/ajabssp.2009.1.6

American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Volume 4, Issue 1

Pages 1-6

Abstract

Problem Statement: Many morphological characteristics, both physical and chemical, are used in the defense against herbivores on plants. Trichomes are structures used by plants as physics defense and when associated with glands combine physics and chemistry defense. Many species of ants are herbivores and use leaves and seeds, others ants use Extra Floral Nectars as a food resource, and the majority of the species are predators of other ants and other insects, and use plants as foraging substrate in search of prey. Likewise, on the assumption that ants feed preferentially in plants free of trichomes, we tested the hypothesis that trichomes plants clouded locomotion of ants. Approach: Experiments were carried out in the field using cotton to mimic the plants surface. Thirty traps for the treatment were assembled with cotton as well as other 30 experiments for the control (treatment without cotton). Each trap consisted of Petri dishes of 14,5 cm diameter with bait (sardine and honey) in a disc (3 cm diameter) in the center of the plate. Around the bait, 10 grams of cotton prepared uniformly were placed. Furthermore, morphometric analysis on the length of body and legs of ants was performed. Results: The number of ants which accessed baits in the center of Petri dishes in treatment with cotton was not statistically different of the number of accesses in the control treatment without cotton. The trichomes do not cloud locomotion of ants and that leg length is equal to or greater than body length. Conclusions/Recommendations: Data revealed that the trichomes do not cloud locomotion of ants; this allows the free walking of ants on the plants surface. However, glandular trichomes that combine physics and chemistry defense with release toxic and adhesives compounds when mechanically stressed may be more efficient in the defense against these insects.

Copyright

© 2009 Danon Clemes Cardoso, Maykon Passos Cristiano, Lenise Cristina Moraes Vilela and Tiago de Arruda Martins. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.