Ant-mediated (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) biological control of the coffee berry borer: Diversity, ecological complexity, and conservation biocontrol

Jonathan R. Morris, Estelí Jiménez-Soto, Stacy M. Philpott, Ivette Perfecto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ants are important biological control agents of the coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari, 1867), the most damaging insect pest of coffee around the world. Ants also occur naturally in coffee landscapes, opening the door to conservation biocontrol approaches, which can promote both biodiversity conservation and crop production. Here, we review evidence that shows that ants antagonize and predate CBB, reduce CBB infestation, and contribute to the suppression of CBB populations. We discuss the potential mechanisms and impacts of ant diversity and interaction complexity on the functioning of CBB biocontrol. We also discuss the implications of conservation biocontrol in coffee farm management, reviewing literature showing that ant communities and CBB respond to coffee farm intensification and the composition of the agricultural matrix. We assess the potential impacts of ant-CBB biocontrol on coffee production and yield, considering the complexities that result from promoting diverse ant communities in conservation biocontrol, and discuss potential disservices of ants. Finally, we end with several research avenues that are needed to further illuminate the overall role of ant communities on coffee pests and yield and to make specific recommendations for ant-CBB biocontrol management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalMyrmecological News
Volume26
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Coffee
  • Coffee berry borer
  • Conservation biocontrol
  • Interaction complexity
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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