Excerpt: The literature concerning the interactions of these insect groups is as interesting as it is extensive. It has generally been accepted that the relationship between ants and aphids has been one of mutualism in which ants derive all or a large part of their nutrients from aphid honeydew and perform special functions in return, primarily that of protecting aphids from their enemies. Every aspect of these associations has been covered by the excellent reviews of Nixon (1951) and Way (1963). It now appears that the nature and effectiveness of the protective value afforded the attended aphids by ants cannot be reduced to a simple statement of symbiosis. Nixon (1951) pointed out numerous situations that are responsible for fluctuations in the ant-aphid relationship. The emphasis in the present study was on the protection extended to Aphis rumicis Linn., a small aphid found on spirea shoots by the common tending ants. This restriction allowed constant surveillance of the protection supplied to a single aphid species by ants against the seasonal succession of predators. Aphid parasites were ignored in this study.
Rathcke, Beverly; Hamrum, Charles L.; and Glass, Arthur W.
"Observations on the Interrelationships among Ants, Aphids, and Aphid Predators,"
The Great Lakes Entomologist: Vol. 1
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol1/iss5/5