Ant Mystery Revealed: Lasius and Aphid Eggs

Did you figure out what the black ovals from the photograph in the recent Lasius post were?

Although aphids give birth to live offspring during parts of their life cycle, they also lay eggs during certain stages. Those stacks of black ovals are root aphid eggs tended by Lasius ants.

The following excerpt fromΒ  Applied Entomology: An Introductory Text-book of Insects in Their Relations by Henry Torsey Fernald (1921) talks about the life cycle on one root aphid, the corn root aphid:

Note: This book is now out of copyright. The excerpt is from Google Books.

Have you ever seen ants tending the eggs of another species?

10 thoughts on “Ant Mystery Revealed: Lasius and Aphid Eggs

  1. Ossein

    I just can believe there is nobody posting...

    Now, I have found several species here, Lasius flavus being the one I am still looking for. I am sure they are around, and know where to look - I've just not had the time to take a hard look at the right places. Thankyou for giving this rare insight.
    In Part my Pseudolasius cibdelus (a chinese species)seem to resemble the Lasius flavus in some behaviour. It'll be interesting to get them introduced to root aphids - they didn't tend the regular aphids I offered on a gras plant. The aphids just exploded, but apart from occasional sensings the ants just didn't seem to care.
    (And to answer your question of lately, the Camponotus barbaricus are doing wonderfully. They have now taken up home in the artificial Ytongnest and seem very content. Still being a Very Small Colony (with now 4 + Queen), there is not much to seen by the impatient.

    Keep up the good work!

    Ossein.

  2. Ossein

    I do hate my German keyboard at times - at least writing English is somewhat difficult: In my first line it should of course read: "I just can't (!) believe there is nobody posting..." - now, with apostrophies it's just not good, I tell you, this keyboard, and I've threatened it to be replaced if it goes on like that πŸ™‚

  3. James C. Trager

    Fascinating! I thought they might be aphid eggs, but hesitated because of their color. I wonder if that is the shell or internal pigmentation?

  4. Roberta

    Post author

    I understand perfectly either way.

    As for comments, it might be because it takes me so long to respond.

  5. I haven't seen them tending eggs, but a bunch are tending the actual aphids right now on my dogwood! Check out my last post...

  6. When I read the post about aphids, bugs, giving birth to live offspring, my mother didn't believe me. I searched "aphids" on your website and no links showed me an explanation for them. I ended up searching "aphids" on Google and saw that it was true!!!! Can you maybe add something on your website that explains aphids a little more to make it a little easier to understand for newbies like me? ( I just started learning more about ants 3 days ago πŸ™‚ )
    I would really appreciate it, if not, I totally understand and now I know what aphids really are now so don't stress about it. Also, I think the photographs are really cool! πŸ™‚

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